The Educators Consortium for Service Learning was launched on September 27, 1994 as the Elementary Community Service Association. As the embers from the 1992 Los Angeles Riots settled, several parents and faculty realized the best way to “help us all get along” (paraphrasing Rodney King) was to build bridges between LA’s various communities. We recognized our children needed to be empowered to do so. By helping K-8 students discover the needs of their community (school, neighborhood, city, global) we could help enable them to make a difference and grow a commitment they could carry throughout their lifetime.
ECSA, a membership non-profit organization run solely by volunteers, created a network of schools represented by administrators, faculty and parents who participated in workshops, meetings and professional development three times during the school year. Organizations, community service and service-learning experts, authors and leaders including Maria Shriver participated in meetings that covered a wide range of meaningful topics and themes. Schools and educational venues hosted and provided food and beverages for the 2 hour sessions. Participants left with resources and reference materials, an upcoming calendar of relevant events, ideas and connections, and books promoting high quality service learning. Member schools had opportunities to collaborate on joint experiences including publishing a book, “In Our Village – Los Angeles” and creating a calendar, “Our Healthy Planet”.
By 2010 the organization expanded to K-12 and updated its name to align with advances as the Educators Consortium for Service Learning.