ECSL’s Winter Workshop


ECSL 2019 Fall Service Learning Workshop

As the November 2020 election approaches, view our Fall 20019 workshop content featuring stories around Youth Roles to Preserve the Democratic Process:

ECSL Making a Difference in Politics/ Spirit Doll winner

ECSL What is Democracy?

ECSL Service-Learning Links to Democratic Process

ECSL Democracy In Action: School DR. Teddy Varno

ECSL Democracy in Action: Student Teva Corwin

ECSL Democracy in Action: Organization League of Women

ECSL Building Our Tool Kits for Youth Engaged in Democracy

Enter the 2020 Speak Up, Sing Out Music Contest!

Enter the 2020 Speak Up, Sing Out
Music Contest!
In collaboration with the GRAMMY Museum, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights invites students to write and produce original songs that speak out against human rights abuses. The format is open to any genre of music.

The Grand Prize winning songwriter will participate in a GRAMMY-related event. 

ENTRY DEADLINE: APRIL 20, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST

“Getting your voice heard can really change your community, society, more than you could ever think.” Our 2019 Speak Up, Sing Out contest winner Tess Lira shares the inspiration behind her empowering song “Solid Gold” and encourages songwriters to trust their voices.

2019 Fall Workshop


Youth Roles to Preserve Democracy

Access these resources to accompany ECSL’s Adapt-Your-Own-Toolkit provided at the Fall 2019 Workshop on youth roles to preserve the democratic process.

Workshop Resources

  1. Article: California Is Taking Steps to Lower The Voting Age – Here’s Why
  2. Power California’s Vote at 16 Workshop Toolkit and Social Media Toolkit
  3. Digital pdf file: ECSL_AdaptYourOwnToolkit

Book List

  1. Why Does Democracy Matter? – A book for young readers on the democratic process and how democracy works (especially suited for K-3).
  2. Let’s Chat About Democracy! – Friends try to find a fair way for everyone to enjoy their treehouse by trying out different forms of governance from monarchy to democracy (especially suited for grades 4-6).
  3. Who’s In Charge – “Who’s in Charge? investigates the world’s political systems and presents them to kids in a fun, appealing way.” (especially suited for grades 4-6)
  4. Every Vote Matters – “Encourage teens to recognize the importance of voting and making their voices heard in the democratic process .. the authors take a close look at often controversial cases and at the history of voting in the United States.”
  5. Lillian’s Right to Vote – “An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history.”
  6. Goodread List: Children’s Books About Voting (with reviews and ratings)

Community Organizations

  1. League of Women Voters
  2. Rock the Vote
  3. The Civics Center
  4. Kids Voting USA


  1. “Our Democracy?” – an interactive lesson plan from Kids Voting, USA that explores how a democracy serves it citizens
  2. You Choose – a compilation of videos on democracy and voting concepts (of particular interest for K-3)
  3. C-SPAN Current Issues Resources – find primary sources, such as video clips and newspaper articles, around issues being debated in popular culture
  4. IssueVoter – Customize the settings to find out about the issues you care about.  “Is my rep representing me? … Receive targeted alerts before Congress votes. Send your opinion directly to your rep. Track your rep’s votes and bill outcomes.”

Action – Direct

  1. C-SPAN Classroom Deliberations – “designed to engage students in classroom deliberations about current issues being debated in the United States .. with C-SPAN primary source video clips and newspaper articles that concisely present the leading positions on each issue.” Includes lessons for activities such as writing position papers, conducting moot courts or holding mock Senate/House debates.
  2. Host a Site Visit with Policymakers – resources and tips to hosting a service project site visit to help engage public figures in discussions around a chosen cause.

Action – Indirect

  1. Develop Policy Proposals – lesson plans and toolkits on creating change through policy

Action – Advocacy

  1. Youth Media-Making Toolkit – “.. designed for educators working with young people ages 13-18. The lessons guide teens to plan, make, and share diverse media about voting and civic engagement: short videos, photos, Internet memes, animated GIFs, and persuasive images for social media.”
  2. Vote at 16 Social Media Toolkit – see what’s needed to promote a cause on social media
  3. Look up your elected officials social media accounts

Action – Research

  1. Center for Youth Political Participation – Links to Public Opinion Polls
  2. Create Issues Guides – create public awareness around a cause


2019 Spring Work Shop

RSVP TODAY ! So you can grow your school’s Service Learning practice in exciting and meaningful ways!

In Memoriam

ECSL has lost one of its earliest leaders, a most ardent supporter for advancing genuine service learning, a guiding light, & a gentle, inspiring mentor to all who had the fortune of exchanging ideas with her.  Ann Nelson came to ECSL in our second year of infancy and was a precious participant as we grew over the last 25 years. She served as an indispensable voice on our Strategic Council, was an anchor for more round-table conversations than can be enumerated, created most our of ECSL handout materials from bookmarks to pamphlets and even made puzzle pieces when we needed to demonstrate how the 5 steps of service learning fit together.  She participated at all our national and state conference  presentations and developed unique and innovative service learning curriculum. Her creative energy and generosity resonates through the spectacular “spirit dolls” she hand-stitched and decorated for annual recognition of an exceptional ECSL participant. Henceforth this honor will be the “Ann Nelson Spirit Award”.  Her legacy lives on through our continued efforts to grow meaningful Service Learning.


Winter Workshop Resources

Continue your preparation and planning for student-led service by linking to the books and media resources that were available at the Winter Workshop. Categories include: Immigration, Environment, Literacy and Early Childhood Ed, and Poverty. You’ll also find a list of the organizations who attended the meeting along with suggested links between their work and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Coming soon … video footage of the meeting!

Winter Workshop Resources