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New Service-learning Grants Announced

Published February 1, 2011

AUGUSTA - The Maine Commission for Community Service announced two Maine school districts have been awarded Learn and Serve grants to support implementation of service-learning. MSAD #17 - Oxford Hills and the Sanford School Department will each receive almost $30,000 over two years to expand the use of service-learning as a teaching methodology across their schools.  

“As Ann and I experienced with our own kids, finding what motivates students is the key to learning and advancement,” said Maine Governor Paul LePage.  “I am pleased that more Maine communities are getting support for their efforts to engage and challenge students in new ways.” 

Learn & Serve Maine is managed by the Maine Commission for Community Service and funded jointly by the Corporation for National & Community Service and Time Warner Cable.  

“We are energized and appreciative. The grant will go a long way to institutionalize service-learning in Sanford. Our vision is for every student to be engaged in meaningful learning. Service-learning helps us meet that vision while also serving and strengthening our community,” said Jed Bloom, Service-learning Coordinator in Sanford. 

MSAD #17 will use funds, in part, to expand the Oxford Hills Harvest for Hunger program. “The goal for students participating in the Roberts Farm Service Learning project is to grow 20,000 pounds of fresh produce each calendar year to donate to ‘Maine Harvest for Hunger’ to be distributed locally to vulnerable families,” said Pat Carson, Health Coordinator.

Service-learning is an instructional strategy that offers a unique opportunity for students, from kindergarten to college, to get involved with their communities in a tangible way by integrating classroom learning with service that addresses local needs. 

Learn and Serve Maine is the state portion of Learn & Serve America funding (www.learnandserve.gov) which provides support to K-12 schools, community groups, and higher education institutions to facilitate service-learning implementation.  Time Warner Cable has generously matched these funds as part of their Connect a Million Minds initiative (www.connectamillionminds.com).

“We’re pleased to support these service-learning projects on behalf of our 1,000 employees in Maine,” said Paul S. Schonewolf, Time Warner Cable’s Area Vice President for New England. “These service-learning projects dovetail nicely with our company’s philanthropic initiative to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math and developing the skills they’ll need for successful careers in the 21st Century.”

 In July of 2010, the Maine Department of Education passed the management of Learn & Serve Maine to the Commission for Community Service.  In addition to the new grant recipients, the program is already supporting service-learning in Current RSU 67 (Chester-Lincoln-Mattawamkeag) and RSU 34 (Alton-Bradley-Old Town).

The Maine Commission for Community Service builds capacity and sustainability in Maine's volunteer and service communities by funding programs, developing managers of volunteers and service-learning practitioners, raising awareness of sector issues, and promoting service as a strategy.