Inspiration & Service Learning at #MONUMENTAL14

I recently presented at the National Service Learning Conference in DC, and was blown away yet again by the incredible folks I met this year, in particular young people who presented & participated in workshops. I’ve listed some of these people & their organizations below — * denotes young folks! I hope you will follow their work and join me at the NYLC conference in 2015! Read more about #MONUMENTAL14


Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center, Science Museum of Minnesota

Jamesha James*, Jasmine Nurnberg*, Anika Ward, Maggie Whitman, Rose Jennings*, Akeeylah Watkins*

This panel of incredible young women of color shared their experience with the Youth Science Center program in MN, where youth work on teams to lead hands-on STEaM workshops for younger youth in their communities. As middle schoolers participants in KAYSC are volunteers, then progress to paid positions as high schoolers, and can serve as interns after graduation. Several of the presenters had been part of KAYSC for years and were currently employed by the program. Their workshop was dynamic, engaging, and truly inspiring, including their youth-produced handout “10 Tips for Engaging Students.”


Civic Education Project

Kelly Weiley & Katrina Weimholt

The Civic Education Project brings youth together from all over the country to Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development for 1-3 week service learning immersion programs. Kelly & Katrina led a fantastic workshop on how to effectively facilitate discussion around “controversial issues” (i.e. race, class, gender, ability, inequality, etc.) As someone who is passionate about being an educator-facilitator (rather than educator-teacher) I was grateful for the time they took to share their best practices for critical dialogue and for the space to reflect on myself as a facilitator.

youthrive, MN

Lafayette Whimper*, Kevin Nguyen*, Maddy Wegner

These young people led an interactive workshop about the Four Simple Rules of Engaged Leadership, and asked participants to act out scenarios exemplifying leadership. Lafayette is a longtime youth participant of the program and now works with youthrive through AmeriCorps, and Kevin is on the youthrive Leadership Team. Both were fantastic facilitators and showed us how to:  1. Show Up and pay attention to what matters to you. 2. Know yourself and your power and Speak Truth courageously. 3. Change Yourself as an example. 4. Lead! Use your passion & your power for a purpose.

Flipped Learning Network

Kari Arfstrom

I was impressed with the ideas and tools coming out of the Flipped Learning Network in VA, which is growing by 1,000 members per month! I loved the variety of methods educators have used to enhance their pedagogy through media & how Kari dispelled the myth that “flipped learning” is just watching videos at home instead of having class. I can’t wait to check out more of their work!


Sewell Speaks

Julia Sewell & all the youth in her workshop, REMIX: Hip-Hop as a Tool for Change

We had to take down the moveable walls between the rooms to fit everyone into this packed workshop. Simple: we used 4 methods — singing, spoken word, rap, acting — to write original pieces about something we’re passionate about. Julia started us off with her own spoken word poem, and we did the rest. Such a great way to end the conference. Check out Sewell Speaks and her S.W.A.G. Youth Development Curriculum.

Tech Tools 101

I was honored to present to a packed room at NYLC on #TechTools101, using social media to engage youth. I was particularly excited to have youth attending the workshop — a first for me! Two in particular who stood out:

Sam Park* An 11-year old who runs his own media production services and who collects funds to load Kindle Paperwhites with books to send to orphanages in Kenya (oh, and wears bowties).

A student* from Xavier College Prep who schooled the adults in the room on how she uses hashtags to increase visibility & support for her project, Girls Have IT Day, on Twitter.


So many great school-based educators, non-profit folks and youth participated in the workshop and really made a special space where we could discuss using technology for engagement & social change. And a win — one more educator not afraid to tackle social media! Thanks everyone!





Special thanks to everyone at NYLC for putting on this amazing conference, especially Lana Peterson & Elizabeth Koenig for supporting professional development!

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