One of the beautiful aspects of service work is that there is rarely a sense of competition. An atmosphere of cooperation and the desire to seek the best outcomes and share information is the norm. When these qualities are modeled from the top down as well as from the bottom up, it’s possible to achieve an outcome compatible with the content, a homogenous whole.
The best information comes from the trenches. Perspective from those working hands-on must be the controlling element for all aspects of the design and structure of the initiative. We need grassroots directive and the help of the many who, set to work, will generate the most feedback in the shortest time. Despite variations, commonalities that guide and define projects will emerge.
We need support from the top, as well—at the national level—to facilitate this initiative. A national support point provides a way to organize ourselves—a way for all of us to get on the same page and start together on similar projects. Support at the top gives us a single location for needed resources, one funnel point for all suggestions on existing projects, and submission of new projects. In this initiative, the top could provide structure and funding incentives.
One central office could create and maintain a website with national and global project models. Staff there could work with project originators on replication models and manage input from project replicators. The office would communicate with other developed nations participating in the K–12 service learning initiative and network with offices that coordinate sister-city relationships.
One central office would provide a cohesive structure for the flow of information to and from ourselves as “the people” joined in a common endeavor. The office would facilitate the work “of the people” by mirroring the qualities of the work itself: sharing information and seeking best outcomes in an atmosphere of cooperation.