Sixth Grade: Environment


We don’t have a sample project for sixth grade students yet, but would love one if you’ve worked it out. Discussion with the community waste management director and school maintenance staff would be the starting point to assess current practices for comparison with models from other communities.

Environment is the most complex topic, embracing a wide variety of explorations in the search for best sustainable solutions. Building a base of education and action can create a path for youth to lead the way forward in our communities. As they connect with their peers nationwide they can combine outcomes into a national picture of our progress.


  • Recycling
  • Industry Innovation
  • Nature



BCSD Green Team
Our Plate Urban School Alliance



Love Food Hate Waste
World Economic Forum
Vermont Food Waste Ban
Sustainability in Prisons Project


The Crayon Initiative
Crayon Collection


Bikes Not Bombs

Sports Equipment


Bye Bye Mattress

Clothing and Textiles

Slow Fashion
Boer Group
Prato, Italy Wool Recycling


National Cristina Foundation

Building Materials

Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Bristol Wood Recycling Project

Larger Scope

St Vincent de Paul
San Francisco Zero Waste Goal

Industry Innovation

Mechanical Concrete
Plastic Road
Caltrans Repaved Roadway
Cool Roofs
Photocatalalytic Cement
Black Women Build
Plato’s Cave
Kalundborg Symbiosis


Rights of Nature
Rainforest Connection


Mr. Trash Wheel
Cleanup Boat
Buffalo Niagra Waterkeeper
Midwest Floating Island
Indian River lagoon Clam Project
Billion Oyster Project
North Carolina Coastal Foundation
Coral Restoration Foundation
Natural Asset Insurance Policy

Marine Protected Areas

Marine Stewardship

SharkSafe Barrier
Pristine Seas

The Great Ocean Garbage Patch
The Ocean Cleanup


Fire Forward:


Living Walls and Rooftop Gardens

Green Bronx Machine
Reyerson Urban Farm
Nature Urbaine

Night Sky

international Dark Skies

Volunteer Opportunities

California Conservation Corps
American Hiking Society Volunteer Vacations

Third Grade: Disabilities

Disabilities Awareness

This innovative disability awareness program has students spend one day in a wheelchair and participate in an interdisciplinary learning experience designed to promote understanding of accommodation, accessibility, and independence.


  • Inclusion
  • Accessibilty


Best Buddies
CIrcle of Friends
Dancers with Disabilities
Sparkle Effect
Alternative Baseball
Miss Amazing Pageant
Picking Up Butch
Heritage Christian Services


Adaptive Furniture

Crayon Rocks
Shared Adventures
Morgan’s Wonderland

Second Grade: Shelter

Safe House Gift Bags

Second graders created gift bags for children and teens in the Violence Intervention Program Safe House. Middle school students made the bags and joined with second graders to help complete the gift bags.

Service projects under the topic, Shelter, address items that are typically found in a home; things like clothing and beds, or if living on the street, access to food, storage, and personal hygiene. The details we may take for granted have become the substance of projects that help others in need in ways we may not have considered.


  • Foster Care
  • Children
  • Staying Housed
  • Homeless on the Street
  • Shelters

Foster Care

Hope in a Suitcase
One SImple Wish
Cinderella Project
Hope Meadows


Cradles to Crayons
The Pajama Program
Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Staying Housed

Rebuilding Together

Keep Oakland Housed

Gloria’s Gladiators

Homeless on the Street

Homeless Outreach Team
A – Z Book of Homelessness
Beantown Blankets
Happy Helpers for the Homeless
Love in the Mirror
Hershey Community Youth Alliance Sock Drive
The Undies Project
Extra-Ordinary Birthdays
Home 2 Home Project
A Wider Circle
The Empowerment Plan
Veteran’s Community Project Village
Father Joe’s Villages
Mercy Housing lakefront

First Grade: Caring Outreach

Hospital Dolls

Nurses in our community requested these dolls for our local emergency room. The piloted first grade service learning project drew upon a model from Kiwanis of Burnside, Australia and information gathered from the websites of hospitals using these dolls.

The above first grade project, as all sample projects, simply represents a possibility for consideration. Any outreach category can serve to unite our first graders in gathering our efforts into a composite picture at the community level to combine with their peers nationally. The idea is for first graders in all communities to be in charge of this topic area to allow for coordination. All community projects taken up in this topic area are shared with first graders who update the community checklist.

The outreach models we create are varied, touching upon many needs and solutions. Some of the models are simple; others are complex. Some are urban, others are not; but perhaps worthy of consideration in our communities. The mix is educational for all of us, and most importantly, for our youth, the next generation to take the lead.


  • Children
  • Youth
  • Military
  • Elders
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Prisons


Temporary Daycare Support

Intergenerational Learning Center


The Basics of Safe Routes to School

Read n Roll

Eureka2 Playground

Playspace For All Children

Station Soccer
Knitting a Community Together

Knit Cafe

City to Saddle
Heart of the City Music Program
DC Scores
Scraper Bikes
Teen Literacy: Get Lit
Experience Aviation
Becoming A Man
Reconnect Brooklyn
Mural Arts
Midnight Basketball
Urban Riding Club
Summer Night Lights
Peace Rocks
Block Wisdom
Apex Youth Center
City Faces
Council for Unity
100 Suits
Young Mothers
High Risk Young Men
Streetworker Outreach
Boston 10Point Coalition
Man Up!
Opioid Crisis Recovery


Soldier’s’ ‘Angels

Operation Paperback

Songwriting With Soldiers

Support from Fellow Warriors

Camp Patriot
The Soldiers Coach
Project Healing Waters
Teacher Resource


Bridges Together
Elder Concierge Service
Retirement or Nursing Home as Dorm


Second Wind


Requests from Hospitals
Cards for Hospitalized Kids
Emily’s Smile Boxes
Songs of Love
Trauma Unit Projects
Children’s Artwork for Emergency Room
Worry Dolls
Hats for Cancer Patients
Newborns in Need
T-Shirts for Ventilator Patients

Nursing Homes

Memory Haven App
Activity Aprons
Reading to Residents


Gideon’s Promise
Open City Advocates
Victim Offender Dialogue
Girl Scouts Behind Bars
Hooks and Needles
Knitting Behind Bars
Alabama Prison Arts and Education Program
Delancey Street
Jails to Jobs
Cafe Momentum
Old Skool Cafe
Confections with Conviction
Benevolence Farm
Restorative Justice
Prisoner Visitation
PREP Partnership for Re-Entry
The Other Side Academy
Rubicon Bakery

Kindergarten: Animals

Caring for Animals

Kindergarten teachers identified animals as the starting point for a community leadership role.

Topic Areas:

  • Therapy
    • Children and youth
    • Hospitals
    • Veterans
  • Rescue
  • Shelters
  • Adoptions
  • Wildlife

Therapy Animals

“Therapy animals can provide physical, psychological, and emotional benefits to those they interact with, typically in facility settings such as healthcare, assisted living, and schools. While most frequently dogs, therapy animals can include other domesticated species such as cats, equines, and rabbits, to name a few. These pets are evaluated on their ability to safely interact with a wide range of populations, and their handlers are trained in best practices to ensure effective interactions that support animal welfare. Therapy animal handlers may volunteer their time to visit with their animals in the community, or they may be practitioners who utilize the power of the human-animal bond in professional settings.” Pet Partners

Therapy Dogs of Vermont

Tufts: Reading Buddies

Elementary School

Proctor Elementary School Therapy Dog

Middle School

Centennial Middle School, Casper, Wyoming

High School

High School Assistance Dog, Burlington, VT

Michigan Paws for Success

Children’s Hospital

CHLA Dog Therapy Program


Iris and Thula

Nursing Homes




Equine Assisted Therapies

Hearts and Horses

At-Risk Youth

Hearts and Horses: At-Risk Youth


Hearts and Horses: Veterans
Horse Sense and Healing

Horses for Heroes


Urban Animal Control

Stray Rescue of St. Louis


Fire and Ice Training and Rescue


Tranquility Animal Sanctuary
Vested Interest in K9s


No Kill

American Pets Alive


Preparing for Adoption

Crafting Beds and Blankets

Kennel Comforters

Snuggles Project

Reading to shy dogs

Shelter Buddies Program


Say Please Program
Rewarding Calm Behavior

Training Support for Shelter Dogs

Leader Dogs for the Blind Prison Puppy Raising Program
NEADS Prison PUP Program
Iowa Prison Dog Training Program
Prison Puppy Program – America’s VetDogs


Operation Bagdad Pups


What would happen if every school district adopted an endangered species? What if school districts combined efforts where necessary and coordinated their efforts with organizations researching these needs to understand the need and work toward the solution until health was re-established and attention could be turned to another need?


3 Billion Birds


Monarch and Pollinator Highway Act of 2019
Honey Love


Bat Conservation International

Fifth Grade: Food


A district wide K-12 service learning project creates an ongoing, self-sustaining system to address food insecurity in local communities.


  • Fresh Food Recovery
  • Field Gleaning
  • Donating Food
  • Creating Meals for People in Need
  • Healthy Eating Education
  • Community Gardens
  • Farming Innovation

Fresh Food Recovery

Grocery Store
School Cafeterias
Small Quantities
Pay with a Post It

Field Gleaning

Gathering fresh produce that would otherwise go to waste
Ulster Corps
Society of St Andrew

Donating food

Back Pack Buddies
Hunters Donating Venison

Creating Meals for People in Need

No Kid Hungry
Cultivate Food Rescue
Campus kitchens
Meals Delivered with Poems
One World Everybody Eats

Healthy Eating Education

Early Sprouts
Edible Schoolyard
School Garden to Lunch Tray
Where Your Food Comes From

Community Gardens

Summer School Garden
Youth Food Project
Grounded in Philly
Urban Gardening

Urban Farming Philadelpia, PA

Plant It Forward

American Youth Are Unique – Let’s Play to Their Strengths

We need to establish our American identity in our system of education. Our youth are Americans who want to participate in meaningful ways. They want to explore the world and connect with others, they want voice. American youth want to create meaningful change, and know they are capable. As older Americans, we may seek their engagement in the classroom, but they seek engagement in the real world. Our youth are ready, eager, emerging pioneers; and we have a host of unsolved, real-world problems in need of fresh perspective and sustainable solutions.

487455_87736518 School Children in IndiaIn developing areas of the world we can see the central role of education in creating change. We see youth – very small children – with strong motivation to learn and they succeed with immediacy and strength in academics. It is easy to see the source of motivation for these children: improved living conditions. As children they bear similarity to our own: they want to help, they want to take action. Relevance is the key that links their energy with education; relevance and purpose are the foundation for motivated learning.

Our youth need real world challenges and problem solving to become excited about their 935764_30449266education. American youth need opportunity to give, and create change; to find their place in the community and the world. They need real world relevance to kick-start the gears and ignite their enthusiasm to learn and find purpose in education. We need to listen to our youth because they tell us what they need. In student surveys our youth typically request:

    • Learning by doing
    • Hands-on project learning
    • Relationships with the outside world
    • Interaction with people beyond the classroom
    • Using technology to interact and communicate
    • Opportunity to solve real-life challenges

The ability of our youth to learn and produce quantifiable results is no different than youth in other countries. American youth are eager to learn and have perspective on how they learn best. We need to call forth our entrepreneurial strength and create a new avenue of education that resonates with our American identity: our desire to engage and create, our humanitarian outreach, our ability to problem solve with wide berth of perspective and embrace.

241663_5533 College StudentsThe inclusion of a service initiative – a service curriculum that starts in kindergarten and runs through high school – will provide the opportunity for this needful inclusion of real world problem solving in real world time that our youth need to thrive. It will incorporate the missing puzzle piece of relevance that will connect the energy of our youth with education. It will allow young Americans to use technology to communicate with their peers nationwide, to find real world leadership roles in creating needed change, to create relationships worldwide. We need to recognize what makes us tick – what makes us unique. We need to play to our strengths.

High School Dropout Can Fade Away

We need to start at the beginning – at the root – to grow strong, interactive engagement with our youth and rediscover the heartbeat of education that is alive with relevance. Without an overarching design that starts from the beginning to create a solid foundation, we will continue to falter and wander within a weak educational structure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe need to give our youth voice and opportunity for engagement with us in the real world that can grow with them from kindergarten all the way through high school.

Our children are excited to go to school when they come of age. First Day of Kindergarte_Sept 2000As parents, we reflect their inspiration. The initiation into education as a major life component is strong. Without the needed nutriment of purposeful, real life engagement we watch our American youth wilt – gradually at first and then more markedly – over a period of thirteen years. Even the “best students” (those who produce the results adults want to see) know that it is a struggle to stay inspired. As parents, it is hard to witness the contradiction between academic success and their lack of inspiration – the contradiction between their excitement as small children to go to school and their resignation to put in another day in high school.

The problem we identify as dropout or truancy is more widespread than dropout rates446665_41782525 Bored with Homework indicate. Many of our youth who do not drop out also struggle to cope with their school environment – the continuing singular yardstick of individual test scores; tests created by others that identify their worthiness for inclusion in a future that lies ahead. High school dropout is a strong move on the part of youth who resist this system and opt out.

In a K-12 service initiative, assessment would expand to include multiple, valuable workplace and life skills; skills that are assessable in live time, not in traditional test form; skills that are evident to others on the “team” – classmates.  Our youth would engage with one another and cross-pollinate their enthusiasm among themselves; an enthusiasm that crosses over into academic subject matter that connects the classroom to the real world in which they live. This enthusiasm would spin out into the hallways, our homes, and our communities.

117-1762_IMGOur youth can address the issue of high school dropout among themselves if we give them real world engagement opportunities. They can find their place in the world and the support education can bring to their lives. They can create community within their schools.

A national K-12 service initiative would open wide a realm of future possibilities interwoven with consideration for others and the environment. We need to step back, grab hold of the larger picture within which the classroom fits, and problem solve a sustainable strategy. We can gather our resources and create an inventive, American solution that will not only solve this issue, but a host of other challenges we face in our communities, nationwide, and worldwide.