Service-learning model for families receives Congressional Resolution
Creating a community garden; making the route to school safer for pedestrians; organizing donation drives to benefit elderly community members—the common thread that is woven throughout these projects is that they were all carried out by families using a service-learning model developed by the National Center for Families Learning. NCFL is a national nonprofit that supports family success and well-being through education by partnering with communities on initiatives where families develop their literacy and leadership skills.
Family Service Learning is a co-designed, research-based learning process in which families identify problems within their own communities and carry out service projects to address them. Challenges within communities are best solved by those who are closest to and experiencing those issues, and the most impactful solutions are co-designed with and by families.
On November 14th, Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY) introduced a Congressional resolution that designates November 14-18, 2022, as National Family Service Learning Week. For the 7th consecutive year, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have recognized Family Service Learning as a dynamic tool for families to not only work towards meeting their educational and career goals, but also improve the communities in which they live.
“I am proud to once again introduce this resolution formally recognizing Family Service Learning Week and the meaningful impact this model has had on education and community-building throughout our country,” says Rep. Yarmuth. “As my final term in Congress comes to a close, it has been an honor to represent the Louisville-based National Center for Families Learning and help champion the remarkable work they do. Research shows that we can strengthen families and build a better future for all by tackling these issues simultaneously, with a comprehensive approach that helps learners of all ages.”
Family Service Learning was developed in 2013 and continues to serve as a vehicle for families to explore their strengths, develop or sharpen skills in leadership, advocacy, and employability, envision solutions to community issues, conduct root-cause analysis, and establish and sustain new community partnerships.
Results from an independent evaluation of Family Service Learning have found that Family Service Learning can:
- Increase formal learning, including content knowledge research and academic skills;
- Increase technology skills;
- Increase opportunities to develop work-based skills;
- Elevate family voice and build social capital through networks of participating adults;
- Expand self-efficacy and self-confidence.
“For seven straight years Family Service Learning has received Congressional recognition, attesting to the value and importance of creating learning opportunities that extend beyond school walls and are grounded in local challenges and inequities facing communities across the country,” says NCFL’s President and CEO, Dr. Felicia Cumings Smith. “Positive shifts occur across communities when there’s a focus on the lived experiences of individuals who have the potential to shape and influence better conditions, policies, and practices for this generation and the next. When parenting adults grow their leadership capacity and become drivers of change in their neighborhoods, communities are elevated by their influence and ultimately thrive.”
Education solutions, such as Family Service Learning, are embedded into NCFL’s research-backed model programming and pathways in family literacy, family engagement, and family leadership. The organization believes that creating a family learning system of these pathways is key to building and supporting a thriving, equitable community. NCFL recently unveiled its 60×30 vision that by 2030, coordinated and aligned Family Learning Systems will be established in 60 communities throughout the country.
Readers interested in joining NCFL’s 60×30 Vision, which involves learning how to incorporate Family Service Learning into their communities, are encouraged to reach out to email@example.com.