by New York State Senator James L. Seward

The poet Audre Lorde once said, “There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.” The work that Sandy McKane has devoutly prepared embodies that sentiment—though I would say she has come as close as anyone to conceiving a completely new concept.

Sandy has succeeded in exploring a broad spectrum of work developed by great thinkers and weaving the threads together into an artful tapestry that can be utilized to wholly modify our educational system.

The world is evolving at a rapid pace and our schools must develop and grow in kind for the students of today to rise and take the mantle of future leadership. Instilling children with a true spirit of community service is an avenue that must be pursued to help guide them toward this lofty, but essential goal.

One of the most difficult steps in advancing such an ambitious agenda is deciding where to start. The beauty in this instance is that a ready-made network is in place. Utilizing our schools as a jumping off point for community service not only makes sense, but is fairly simple to accomplish.

Schools already fulfill a pivotal role in each and every community, small and large, from east coast to west coast. A feeling of unity and pride emanates from our schools and touches all. Success in the classroom, on the playing field, or on the school stage cannot be quantified through empirical facts and figures but there is no quarreling with the ideal. Adding pure community service to the equation will build on the influence our schools already have and extend their reach exponentially.

As you read this book, which can best be described as a call to action, you will become an active participant in advancing this concept. No doubt you will visualize ways to put this strategy into practice in your own school. Take the next step and involve a neighboring district—you will strengthen the bonds that already exist and set in motion the K-12 service learning model.

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