Model projects from Afterschool Serves Tennessee
Afterschool Serves Tennessee initially trained more than two dozen out-of-school-time programs in service-learning and funded 13 pilot projects at summer programs across the state during 2021. The service-learning projects completed by the children and youth:
- produced tangible benefits for their communities
- improved their academic and team-building skills
- cultivated a sense of civic responsibility
- provided opportunities for career exploration
- significantly improved social emotional learning scores for the participants
This work has continued through 2023. Below are highlights from the original projects and new projects.
Thank you to the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, NYLC, United Ways of Tennessee, Learning Blade, and Volunteer Tennessee for making these projects possible.
Boys and Girls Club of the Hatchie River Region
Students used the Learning Blade Fresh Food Mission over the summer due to their community being hit by a tornado in March and losing internet connections. They completed the mission this summer after their connection was restored. Because they had less time, their capstone project is being moved to March 2024, when a local car dealership is going to help them plant a community garden.
Trenton Special School District
Students used the Learning Blade Fresh Food mission while working on their service project. In addition, they used hydroponic equipment to learn about growing food that would be used in their cooking classes and shared by their peers. They used growing lights to facilitate the growing of seeds into plants that were used in their cooking classes and also planted in a raised bed garden behind the school. These items were eventually given to participants to take home for their family to cook and eat. Future plans include giving some produce to the local nursing home.
Backfield in Motion
At BIM, we had about 24 students – from 5th to 8th grades – who participated in a 4-week Summer Academy experience. We selected these students to be a part of this first Cohort Style in which students were able to learn in seminar format from Corporate Executives that included MARS Petcare, Caterpillar Finance, Harding Academy, Nashville Soccer Club, and Uncle Nearest. They studied Marketing, Advertising, Sales, Research & Development, Manufacturing & Commercial, and Leadership along with numerous activities that aligned and connected Cybersecurity. The students utilized Learning Blade (Hack Attack) on their own which the majority of students completed with the mission express scoring at 80% or above. In addition, students attended several field experiences visiting and touring headquarters, plants, and working in Corporate Boardrooms and Executive offices. Also, students were able to be a part of the Tennessee State University E-GAME competition on the college campus that involved Coding and Robotics. To add to their experiences, the students learned about the Civil Rights Movement by visiting a presentation and display at the downtown library and the Tennessee State Museum. Students were able to ask questions from presenters about how Cybersecurity connected in their line of work. At the climax of this program, the students created a Showcase of all their learning experiences throughout the month of June. They also received Brand New IPADS, Backpacks, and several SWAG gifts from the corporate executives. We have certainly learned a lot through implementation of Learning Blade. Our students took the opportunity of independent learning in the learning blade platform, allowing us to closely monitor their progress. We wish we had more time for the students to flesh out peer conversations about the careers associated with Cybersecurity. Our commitment to our families is to continue to grow the Cohort Experience every summer until our students finish High School.
Click here to see a special video by Backfield in Motion
Shades of Development
Sixth through eighth grade students at SHADES of Development worked to explore the Learning Blade Hack Attack Express Mission in connection with service learning. Students were assigned Tools and Teammate modules. The modules were insightful and packed full of relevant content.
One of the barriers faced during the summer was that students did not have access to one-to-one devices, so they worked through the modules as a class using a projector. They watched the videos
as a class and worked through the questions and activities. Although this approach
affected the integrity of the Learning Blade data collection, the project leader and the
students found this approach more meaningful for our students. The project leader
discovered that some of the content was challenging for the students; however working
as a class the students were able to discuss and practice the content until there was full
After completing the Hack Attack Express Mission, the students used the service
learning approach outlined by National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) to investigate
needs within their school community concerning cyber security and safety. The group
determined that more information was needed within the school community. They
developed a plan to create a public service announcement about cyber security and
safety. The class then worked their plan to create the public service announcement.
After several discussions and reworks the class settled on a final version to distribute to
the community. The students distributed the public service announcement to over 200
students, parents and staff in the program community. The public service
announcement was very well received by the program community.
We felt that the students learned valuable information about both cyber security and service learning. The students did an excellent job collaborating as a team to create their public service announcement. They received positive reinforcement from the program community about the impact of the public service announcement. Lastly, the celebration of the completed project served as a catalyst for a foundation of future commitment to service within the SHADES community
Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Tennessee in Humboldt
Participants discussed and learned about different types of natural disasters, and the kids decided to do their own research and create padlets. They also had a guest speaker on natural disasters specific to their community and were given disaster relief pamphlets to include in safety kits, and they even decided to do an extra trash pickup.
Girl Scouts Heart of the South in Memphis
Girls transitioning from middle to high school learned to act on issues they care about and engaged friends and family in efforts to impact their community and environment, while building leadership skills, SEL, and adapting to changes in the world around them.
Download Report Here
Madison County Parks and Recreation
Campers at Madison County Parks and Recreation decided to combat bullying in their community be developing a YouTube PSA, demonstrating project management, writing, speaking, and team-building skills, as well as working the technology.
Bullying PSA YouTube Link
Peabody High School/Trenton Special School District
High school students learned important life and career skills (like planning, budgeting, and math) while helping those at the Trenton Health and Rehabilitation Center.
Download Report Here
Participants learned how to operate Cricut machines and how to make graphic designs for their projects, increasing their technological savviness and flexing their creativity.
Athens-McMinn family YMCA (project 1)
The children learned the importance of teamwork and communication when completing a task. They also learned a lot about planting flowers and how to ensure that the flowers take root and have an opportunity to continue to grow.
Athens-McMinn family YMCA (project 2)
Participants learned quite a bit of science, including about transmission of diseases between animals, how different breeds react to different stimuli, how the weather affects animals’ daily routines, and recycling and its impact on our environment. Animal hygiene and illness were also discussed as students were given the opportunity to bathe animals, including medicated baths.
Service-learning is powerful even for the youngest students! Athleticademy summer camp participants as young as pre-k decided to help other children with their reading and created a learning tree that required planning, as well as multiple art and construction projects, with shelves organized by reading level and the space around be outfitted as an inviting nook.
Download Report Here
Download Planning Document Here
Click to see videos and photos Here
SHADES of Development/Brickey McCloud Elementary (Project 1)
Children learned about food insecurity in their community and decided to respond, using teamwork, planning and communication skills to help their neighbors.
Download Report Here
SHADES of Development/South Doyle Middle School (Project 2)
Students decided to support local nonprofits during the pandemic, and they selected the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, researching what help was needed, making treats, and drafting notes of appreciation to staff as they learned the importance of contributing to their communities.
United Way of Anderson County/Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge
Kids learned a ton of science while they created two Pollinator Gardens. Naturescapes provided lessons on what plants would be best for the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds and which would also do the best in the clay soil and in the full sun.
Plant Info Sheet Download
Humboldt City Schools
Rising 8th graders learned how to use stormwater runoff to irrigate, reuse for drinking, or to create a safe swimming environment for Humboldt Lake. Students saw that mathematic skills were important to use to measure the quantity of stormwater produced during a given time (a month, a week, a day) and learned that materials used to “sanitize” the water created additional issues such as smell, taste, and in real time – erosion of materials such as the containers used as pipes or cups used as water towers.
Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Tennessee in Union City
Students chose for their service project to visit the Columbus Beaumont State Park with the local 4-H agent and help label the trees at the park. Club members learned to measure the size of trees for lumbering purposes, how to identify different leaves that matched to the trees, and the many different varieties of trees at the park. They were able to label 12 different kinds of trees for the park personnel.