Pia Simeoni

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This Summer, Students Become Changemakers at UF: Apply Now!

Posted by Pia Simeoni on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 @ 03:55 PM

This post was updated on 3/3/2015 

social entrepreneur summer camp

Apply now to be a part of the 2015 UF Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability (YELS) Summer Program.

YELS teaches students about Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Sustainability through academic courses, community service, activities, events, and field trips, and campus life.

Students will complete over 75 hours of community service (towards the requirement for Bright Futures Scholarships or the service portion of IB CAS hours). After class each afternoon, students work in teams volunteering with local nonprofit organizations. On Saturdays, we begin the day with service plunges and then have fun-in-the-sun in the afternoon. Past projects have included: tutoring & mentoring at-risk students, planting community gardens, renovating the homes of low-income disabled and elderly folks, playing with preschoolers & building a playground, conducting home-energy audits to lower the utilities bills of disadvantaged families, removing invasive species from local waterways, weeding and pruning at an organic blueberry farm, and building a butterfly garden. By participating in YELS this summer, you really can, as Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.

Please share this info with anyone who might be interested:

The University of Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) is pleased to announce our 9th Annual Pre-College Summer Program for High School Students: UF Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability Summer (YELS) Program.

This program is for motivated, college-bound rising juniors and seniors who are interested in Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Sustainability.

From June 21 through July 24, 2015, program participants will take two college-level courses at UF: ENT4934 - Exploring Entrepreneurship & SYG2010 - Social Problems & Solutions.
Participants will also complete 75+ hours of community service (towards the requirement for Bright Futures Scholarships + IB CAS hours). Students will participate in evening and weekend programing including a Speaker Series, mentor partnerships with Entrepreneurs and Nonprofit Leaders, field trips, visits with Gator Athletes, and other exciting events and activities. The program will culminate with an awards lunch on the final day, recognizing the students for their leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.

Students will work, eat, play, and sleep on campus during the five week program. They will be housed in Beaty Towers, near other high school students attending summer science & engineering programs. Participants will have access to the university's facilities including a newly renovated library, student union and arts center, and many state of the art recreation and sports facilities (including three fitness facilities, nine fields, two pools, six outdoor court facilities, and a gym).

Applications are NOW AVAILABLE

We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible, as we are processing applications on a rolling basis, with a deadline of March 1st.

Detailed information, including the application materials and scholarship applications are available on our website. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us, quickest replies will come by email.

For more information:



social impact and social entrepreneurship at UF

Dr. Kristin Joos, Director

YELS was developed in Partnership with UF Center for Precollegiate Education & Training, UF Office of Youth Conference Services, UF Center for Leadership & Service, the UF Office of Sustainability, and the UF Innovation Academy.

Topics: summer, socent, college credit, volunteering, youth impact, college admissions, college applications, social entrepreneurship, scholarships

2014 National Service-Learning Conference: MONUMENTAL

Posted by Pia Simeoni on Thu, Feb 13, 2014 @ 01:42 PM




MONUMENTAL brings together youth and adults from across the country and around the world for three and a half days of learning, inspiration, and connection at the 25th annual National Service-Learning Conference and the 26th annual Global Youth Service Day, April 9 – 12, 2014 in Washington D.C. This one-of-a-kind learning environment is an extension of the classroom, allowing youth and adults to come together to be part of something bigger.

Justice Sandra
Day O'Connor
Secretary of Education
Arne Duncan
Philippe Cousteau
Student and TGIF Founder
Cassandra Lin

MONUMENTAL Learning Opportunities

Join us in the Nation’s Capital for an event that

  • inspires social innovation and civic action for a generation who is eager and able to lead effective change in their schools and communities.
  • models and enables effective youth-adult partnerships.
  • shifts perceptions of youth from that of a social liability, to one of respect as important and capable leaders of today.
  • equips educators and youth with the skills to foster authentic youth leadership and innovation in and out of the classroom.

Register today! Rates are the lowest they have been in the last ten years! Send a group of youth and adults from your school or organization. Nearly 70% of our conference participants attend as part of groups, which are most often intergenerational. Conference housing and registration closes March 17. Don’t delay!

Visit MONUMENTAL at www.nylc.org/conference to learn more.

Copyright © 2014 National Youth Leadership Council, All rights reserved. 

NobleHour is proud to be a Gold Sponsor of MONUMENTAL. See you in Washington DC!

UNCG, NobleHour.com announce software development licensing agreement

Posted by Pia Simeoni on Wed, Feb 05, 2014 @ 11:12 AM

The Community Engagement Collaboratory tracks partnership and public-service activities between universities and communities.


UNCG’s Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE) announced today that they have signed a software licensing agreement with NobleHour.com, LLC. UNCG will collaborate with NobleHour over the next year to develop the next version of the Community Engagement Collaboratory™ (The Collaboratory™), a web-based software application that tracks partnership and public service activities between universities and communities. The Collaboratory will facilitate measurement of activities, identify patterns of engagement, and provide ongoing data collection to convene people and resources around important community priorities.

“We created the software system to satisfy UNCG needs – to know who is doing what where when and with whom for what purposes – but sought a commercial partner to help us get it onto a shareable platform because of the many requests we received from colleagues across the US and world who had seen our tool and asked us to share it with them,” says Emily Janke, director of ICEE. “They saw our unique ability to keep track of and get the word out about hundreds of activities and relationships for planning, research, and recognition purposes.” Janke and Kristin Medlin (ICEE communications and partnerships manager), along with Barbara Holland (ICEE senior scholar), are co-inventors of The Collaboratory, which uses a web-facing database to create a portrait of community engagement and public service for planning, research and recognition. 

“Understanding the portrait of an institutions’ engagement with communities is essential for schools, institutions of higher education, and communities to move from accidental, coincidental, or random service activities of individuals to intentional and coordinated agendas of institutions with their communities,” says Holland. “This tool will allow us to work more systematically to effect significant and positive changes in our communities.”

UNCG will serve as the home for the Collaboratory Research Program that will facilitate “big data” types of scholarship on community engagement and public service. “We chose to collaborate with NobleHour because of their great reputation. We knew that they could provide ongoing, secure, and high quality services, which is critical to our larger goal of transforming the practice, scholarship, and outcomes of community engagement, here in the region, but also state-wide, nationally, and internationally,” says Medlin.

“NobleHour is honored to share its core vision with quality educational leaders such as UNCG. In an attempt to enable valuable strategic partnerships, NobleHour will endeavor to create and sustain an international repository dedicated to research that furthers community engagement, professional development, and student learning,” said NobleHour Managing Partner, Scott Fore.

Based out of Lakeland, Florida and with a nationwide staff, NobleHour provides web-based software that helps any type of organization manage service-learning, intern, employee, volunteer, and community service initiatives. NobleHour.com offers hour tracking, opportunity and event listings, and hour reporting tools that are used by notable school districts and higher education institutions such as Guilford County Schools, The George Washington University, and UC San Diego. NobleHour, started by a student in 2005, grew from a simple online database of service-learning opportunities to a strong presence with over 125,000 users, and over 4,500 organizations with thousands of opportunity listings. Since January of 2012, NobleHour users have tracked over 3 million service hours, with an economic impact of over $73,000,000. 

The current version of the Collaboratory is viewable online at http://communityengagement.uncg.edu/advanced-search.aspx, and contains information on more than 250 ongoing or completed community-university projects. A commercial version of the Community Engagement Collaboratory is expected to be available for purchase in late 2014. More information can be found at www.CEcollaboratory.com.

For more information, please contact Kristin Medlin, communications and partnerships manager, at (336) 334-4661 or kdbuchne@uncg.edu.

The UNCG Institute for Community and Economic Engagement encourages, supports, elevates, and amplifies faculty, staff, student, and community colleagues from across all sectors who are involved in teaching, learning, research, creative activity, and service in ways that promote strategic goals of the university and address pressing issues which have important implications to communities across the Piedmont Triad, state, nation, and world.

Topics: engaged learning, community-based learning, community-engaged learning, carnegie classification, partnerships, collaboration, collaboratory, community engagement collaboratory, cecollaboratory, service learning, community engagement, service, highered

Why Service Matters

Posted by Pia Simeoni on Tue, May 14, 2013 @ 10:27 AM

Reflections by NobleHour Special Contributor, Cathryn Berger Kaye, M.A.

What gives life meaning and purpose? Family? Friendships? Grades? Family and friends, of course. However, when it comes to academics, many students find emphasis on grades and scores to be a necessary evil, something they must achieve. Yet the question of personal fulfillment may be fleeting.

Service learning studentsWhile traveling globally and meeting students at all levels whether pre-collegiate or in higher education, I often ask the question, “How many of you look out the window and wonder Why am I learning this?” By posing a similar question to teachers and faculty, “How many of you wonder, Why am I teaching this?” hands fly up. What a response! Would all participants benefit more deeply from the education process if a purpose was driving the learning? A larger purpose? How about this one: Applying what we are learning to the common good. When the academic and service connection is deliberate and includes student initiative, authenticated needs, reciprocal collaborations with community partners, and meaningful reflection, we call this service learning.

The pairing of education with the purpose of meeting verified community needs has likely been going on as long as education itself. There have always been teachers who recognize this imperative. Personally, my first teaching position erupted into service as students observed the onslaught of Dutch elm disease threatening the trees in their backyards. Their insistence on taking action convinced all the teachers to frame what we had on our academic agendas around this situation. High level science research with university students as partners gave these high school youth an incentive to work harder with a sense of urgency, true intrinsic motivation. Their university counterparts willingly assumed the role of mentors that kept them more committed to their course work. Everyone cared about outcomes that went well beyond grades. They were saving trees.

 Plant trees. They give us the two most crucial elements for our survival: oxygen and books.

– A. Whitney Brown

Now we are experiencing a global groundswell of service. The issues we face as a planet have risen to a level that calls more of us to action. We can all be engaged in learning about and addressing critical issues—hunger, climate change, population migration, loss of habitat, illiteracy, and more—while contributing to the betterment of themselves and others. Students at all levels who are cognizant of the issues and have problem-solving abilities to address them, matter. When students lack the skills then all educators need to take notice and provide what is needed to transform youth into advocates for the social well-being of our environment, our communities, and indeed this planet we share. Providing the requisite skills and knowledge to do this vital work in local communities and larger world adds relevance to the process of education.

With academic-rich service learning experiences, students are doing astounding work as they prepare food for people in crises, repair coral reefs, protect animals, and spend time with otherwise lonely elders. When they care about the subject matter and have authenticated a need, students discover intrinsic motivation. This is key.

Words fill classrooms and books and computer screens. We can dialogue, write papers, and make suppositions about what is possible. Yet, when we take words and transform them into ideas, and these ideas then transform into action---what are we capable of?

Psychologist Robert Sternberg wrote an exceptional article called What is an Expert Student? In this article he commits to the idea that to reach intelligence, students need to engage in analytical, creative, and practical thinking. One or two of these alone will not be sufficient. He then adds, “When schools teach for wisdom, they teach students it is important not just what you know, but how you use what you know . . .” He then adds a statement that has been a personal mantra of mine since first hearing these words: “Wisdom, the opposite of foolishness, is the use of successful intelligence and experience toward the attainment of a common good.”

How many of you think we need more wisdom in the world right now? If you are nodding, then making the endpoint of our education manifest with tests and grades will likely be terribly insufficient. Bringing learning to life through using what we study in class to assist struggling students gain skills and confidence, or writing informative brochures about local history, or creating healthy food options in locales where scant vegetables are available only at corner stores—could this be what education is really about?  

Why does service matter? With service learning ideas becomes a reality, the excitement becomes palpable. The contributions made—significant. What I see most is students discover who they are as their interests, talents and skills connect with the academic content and skills and learning comes to life. Service creates purpose for learning. And students and the exceptional educators who engage them prove to be valued contributors for our collective well-being, now and in the future.

Cathryn Berger Kaye, MACathryn Berger Kaye, M.A., president of CBK Associates, International Education Consultants, provides program development, and highly engaging workshops and keynote addresses on service learning, literacy, engaged teaching, and school culture. Cathryn is the author of The Complete Guide to Service Learning: Proven, Practical Ways to Engage Students in Civic Responsibility, Academic Curriculum, & Social Action (Free Spirit Publishing, 2010), and Going Blue: A Kid’s Guide to Protecting Our Oceans and Waterways, with Philippe Cousteau and EarthEcho International. Visit her Website at www.abcdbooks.org and contact her in Los Angeles at cbkaye@aol.com.

Topics: service learning, education, service

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