Service-learning is curriculum-based volunteering by students as part of their required coursework, guided by their teachers. The materials here help leaders of volunteers to work with schools (at all levels of education) to provide placements for students of all ages.

An Asset Builder's Guide to Service-Learning, pp 41-42, Search Institute
Making the Case for Youth Participation, Loring Leifer and Michael McLarney, Younger Voices, Stronger Choices: Promise Project's Guide to Forming Youth/Adult Partnerships, pp. 4-5, YMCA of Greater Kansas City
Points of Entry, Recruiting College Students: A Guide for Volunteer Recruitment and Management, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America
Service Learning, Timothy K. Stanton, Dwight E. Giles, Jr. and Nadinne I. Cruz, Service Learning, pp. 67-68, Jossey-Bass
Teens in action, Theresa Foy DiGeronimo, A Student's Guide to Volunteering, Career Press
What is Reflection?, Debbi Axt, editor, Break Away Site Leader Survival Manual
A detailed manual that tells organizations how to design an internship program. Provided by CampusPhilly, a Philadelphia-based program connecting students and employers: , 2015
A report from the National Commission on Service-Learning, produced by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. , 2002, pp. 60
This monograph was published by SerVermont, a nonprofit corporation that encourages all students to do voluntary community service integrated with academic coursework., 1999
By Youth Service America, showing how to "develop and implement a high-impact, strategic plan of action to engage young people in serving and learning in their communities." , 2013, pp. 74

Produced the the US Peace Corps to help members develop service-learning projects in developing countries. (V2 = V2) 

, 2009, pp. 65
The Big Dummy's Guide to Service-Learning

"27 Simple Answers to Good Questions on: Faculty, Programmatic, Student, Administrative, & Non-Profit Issues."

Campaign Against Servitude

For another point of view about service-learning, check out this site of the Ayn Rand Institute.

Campus Compact

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum. Campus Compact’s membership includes public, private, two- and four-year institutions across the spectrum of higher education.

Cesar E. Chavez Service-Learning Resource Guides

Set of step-by-step project manuals for service activities by students, K-12.


Research and information on community participation by youth from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). Free fact sheets, tools for practice, and more.

Learning to Give Philanthropy Curriculum

A site dedicated to teaching the importance of voluntary action for the common good in a democratic society. Offers free curriculum material for grades K to 12, with full course outlines, teachers guides, standards and benchmarks. Also see the materials in their "Resource Room" at

National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE)

A nonprofit membership association of educators, businesses, and community leaders. Founded in 1971, NSEE also serves as a national resource center for the development and improvement of experiential education programs nationwide.

National Youth Leadership Council

Long-time advocate for service-learning, the NYLC site provides both basic and advanced information on what service-learning is and best practices for doing it right. See the 2004 "Growing to Greatness" evaluation studies.

Service Learning in the Northwest

Several free guides on designing service-learning projects, their essentials elements, benchmarks, and sample programs.

Youth Service America Blog

Youth Service America shares current news, information, and grant opportunities from the service-learning and youth service fields, including stories of youth successful in helping their communities.

Youth Service America Resources

Long list of free, downloadable guides for students and teachers on all aspects of creating the best service-learning projects and curricula.

Setting Expectations with Student Volunteers' Teachers
From Susan J. Ellis, President, Energize, Inc.

The new year is also the start of another academic semester, so it's likely you will be welcoming a fresh batch of students into volunteer roles. If the students have come to you for a formal school purpose -- such as to get academic credit for a course, write a research paper, or fulfill a requirement for graduation -- there will undoubtedly be a faculty member with whom they, and therefore you, will interact during the course of service.

It's a good idea to schedule a meeting to clarify the expectations of the school or particular teacher. These days you might be receiving service-learning students from elementary school through graduate studies, with different issues related to each age group. Consider developing a mutual "roles and responsibilities" sheet with the faculty member, to delineate descriptions of who will do what.

Reach agreement on such points as:

  • What are the school's goals for the student's service and how do these align with the needs of the agency?
    • Is the primary concern the number of hours logged in or completion of a project or work plan?
    • Does the school prefer certain types of volunteer assignments or staff supervisors with specific credentials?
    • What's the optimal balance between service and learning? Between observing and doing?
  • How will responsibility for training and supervision be divided equitably and effectively between you?
    • Will a faculty member expect to come on site periodically to see the student? What is needed from the agency staff during such visits? What might you want from the teacher?
    • Will the teacher be conducting any "reflection" discussions in the classroom to help students learn from their experiences? Do you have a role to play in this process?
    • How will you work together to enforce both agency and school rules?
  • How often and how will you be in touch with each other during the semester?
  • Will the student be graded for the work done in the agency or receive some sort of formal credit for time logged?
    • Who assigns the grade, using what criteria?
    • Do you need to keep any records to help the assessment process? Write a report or recommendation of any sort?
    • What attendance records must you keep?
    • If a student is not providing the agreed-upon hours of service, who will keep track and follow up? In other words, will the school do the enforcing?
  • For students under the age of 18:
    • Who will obtain parental permission and generally liaison with parents?
    • Who supplies or reimburses student transportation?
  • Deal with administrative questions, such as:
    • Who is responsible/liable for insurance coverage of the students?
    • Will there be an end date to the project or continuous coverage by a new class of volunteers?
    • If the student wants to continue as a volunteer with your organization past the official placement period, how will the transition take place?

Discussing such questions at the beginning will avoid confusing duplication of roles and will establish good working relationships. Be aware that teachers and group leaders may have unrealistic expectations of what your agency can offer student volunteers. Listen to their requests, but feel free to set limits on what will be possible. Your bottom line is service to your clients or consumers.

Ideally, the faculty liaison will remain your point of contact over time so that you do not have to renegotiate everything for each student who offers services.