A Road Trip with a Twist {Volunteer While Traveling – At All Ages}

On a Friday morning at the end of June, 31 teens from New Jersey stepped off a bus in front of Raleigh City Farm. They had just begun a six-and-a-half-week trek across the United States. Raleigh was just their second stop on a trip with 26 destinations! The trip would take them to every region of the US—to cities like Chicago and Los Angeles and to the vast wilderness of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. What brought these teens from New Jersey to an urban farm in Raleigh? They were taking part in the Great American road trip, but with a twist. The trip’s leader, Daniel Kaplan of USY on Wheels, explained that the teens were on a journey “mainly focused on leadership and social action.” Whether it involved working on a farm in Raleigh, serving food to the homeless in Chicago, or singing songs at a nursing home, these teens would certainly be leaving a trail of “good” behind them. Here at Activate Good, this journey piqued our interest. It was fitting that these traveling teens would come to us to find a volunteer opportunity. Their journey echoed the road trip of Activate Good founder, Amber Smith, who volunteered across the country on her own two-and-a-half-month trek. Also fitting, the teens arrived just as the first week of our Teen Leadership & Service Summer Program was wrapping up. That morning on the farm the NJ teens wielded pickaxes to break ground for new plantings and harvested blackberries. They also had a chance to learn about the farm and its practices. Daniel said, “The kids got really into it....

Activate Schools spotlight: Raleigh Charter High School

This blog post highlights the volunteer adventures of Activate Schools program supporter, Raleigh Charter High School! About the Activate Schools program Activate Schools is Activate Good’s initiative to empower the next generation of young volunteers and community leaders. Through the Activate Schools initiative, Activate Good works with local high schools to integrate our Community Leadership & Service class into their curriculum in the form of an elective class for students. Learn more about Activate Schools program. Subscribe to our Activate Schools newsletter for information on teen volunteering, national scholarships for service, service-learning and more. Raleigh Charter High School rallies students for Community Work Days By Hannah Page, Community Liaison for Raleigh Charter High School Each year, the faculty, staff, and students of Raleigh Charter High School carry out our Community Work Day program. Every teacher works with a group of 13-16 students to address an issue, cause, or organizational need. Students select from a list of these programs at the beginning of the year; they then participate in one major Work Day in the fall, and one in the spring. All groups hold planning sessions in advance of these sessions to hear from speakers associated with organizations dedicated to their issue or cause, and to plan for the activities they carry out on the larger work day.     As of February 2015, there are 33 different Community Work Day groups focusing on areas ranging from mental health awareness, to environmental conservation, to addressing homelessness and hunger. In most cases, the teachers have chosen an issue or organization that means a great deal to them personally. Some of the organizations we...

Service Learning to Service Doing: Activating Teen Do-Gooders

For those unfamiliar, Activate Good’s Activate Schools program is designed to empower the next generation of community leaders and volunteers through a Leadership and Service service-learning curriculum. We partner with area high schools to implement this curriculum and give students access to in-depth learning about community issues and how they can be a part of solving them. As part of the curriculum, students are asked to study community issues then develop an idea for a service project that would address one of the issues they are most passionate about. Students form groups to develop their service project ideas, then present them to community members, who act as judges, scoring each project idea. The top scoring project idea wins a cash award from Activate Good, which they use to carry out their project with the rest of their classmates. Finding Passion Through Service Learning Recently, I joined other community members in judging service project ideas from students in our Leadership and Service curriculum at the Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy. My new role as the Activate Schools Program Coordinator has allowed me to spend a considerable amount of time immersed in Activate Good’s Leadership and Service curriculum. It has also caused me to imagine what it would have been like for me to go through this course as a high school student. It’s really when I listened to these students’ ideas for making a difference in our community that the elements of the Leadership and Service curriculum came to life. In every group’s presentation, I could identify an “ah ha” moment, the moment students in that group awakened to their...

Serving Up Spring pop-up brunch on March 30 will fuel service learning for 6 classrooms

When I was in high school, I had an itch I couldn’t quite scratch. Inside there was a fire burning, a voice urging me to go out and make a big difference, but I lacked a deeper understanding of the issues in my community. And, I lacked guidance on how to tackle those issues. Ever ask yourself what you’d change about your high school experience if you had the chance? If there had been a service learning elective at my school that would enable me to study important community issues in-depth, identify causes to engage with, and help me hone my personal leadership skills, I would have jumped at the chance to enroll. As it happened, I had neither the opportunity nor the awareness to start learning these things until after high school. I can only imagine how my life would be different if I’d had that chance, if I’d learned these vital things as a teenager; if I’d have gotten involved earlier and made progress on more issues that are important to me. Through Activate Good‘s Activate Schools program, I now have a chance to give other students — other teens with fires in their bellies — the opportunity and guidance to learn these things, to start putting their passion and energy into something they’ll be extremely proud of. A lot of the time, these are kids that wouldn’t be given the opportunity to lead or told they have any kind of power to make a difference. Showing kids they CAN lead and CAN make an impact is life-changing. It was for me. Throughout the Leadership & Service curriculum...
Activating Schools: WYWLA girls serve and lead

Activating Schools: WYWLA girls serve and lead

Activate Schools is the educational program created by Activate Good to connect community and leadership to the classroom.  Within the Activate Schools program the Community Leadership & Service course teaches high school students about current issues and presents them with opportunities to get involved at a local level.  The comprehensive curriculum was designed to engage youth through a project-based learning approach.  The lessons provide real-world scenarios and are linked to the common core learning standards for high school students.  The Activate Schools Community Leadership & Service course has been successfully implemented as an elective in local area high schools including Broughton, East Wake and the North Carolina School of Science and Math.  For the 2012 – 2013 academic year all freshmen at the new Wake Young Women’s and Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academies are currently enrolled in the course.  These academies are based on leadership models that encourage each student to make a positive impact in their community.  A natural partnership formed between Activate Schools and the Wake Leadership Academies based on mutual goals to empower youth and foster leadership development. The Activate Schools curriculum guides students to explore the root causes behind social issues and conduct assessments of community needs on both a global and local level.  Students learn to recognize their own leadership styles and to strengthen their critical thinking skills.  The course is designed in a way that enables the students to communicate with community partners, identify causes they connect with and propose a viable solution to current issues.  The Service Proposal project at the end of the course is a culmination of all topics covered...

WYWLA Students pitch projects at Service Project Fair

  Join Activate Good at the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy Service Project Fair on Friday, November 16 at 9:00 AM at Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy, located on the Governor Morehead School campus in Raleigh (Lineberry Hall). [See campus map] Students from Activate Good’s Community Leadership & Service class at WYWLA will present their service project ideas to tackle community issues related to the environment, education, poverty, art and culture and more! Attendees are invited to help score students’ service project ideas, give students feedback on their concepts, and be a part of selecting the top service project idea to receive a $250 mini-grant from Activate Good to carry out their service project. Service Project Fair Agenda Guest Arrival and Check-In Time: 8:45 – 9:00 AM Student Presentation Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM Announcement of Winner: 11:00 – 11:30 AM (during lunch in the dining hall)...