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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Learnserve International

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services

Mission: LearnServe International sparks high school students' passion to make a difference, and equips them with the knowledge, tools, and relationships to effectively drive solutions to pressing global challenges.

Results: Since 2004 LearnServe has: a) helped launch more than 250 emerging social entrepreneurs; b) led more than 400 students and teachers to serve communities in Zambia, Paraguay, Jamaica, Japan, China, and Ethiopia; and c) directly engaged more than 2,500 young people in social innovation.

Target demographics: High School students in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.

Geographic areas served: DC, MD, and VA

Programs: LearnServe Fellows - social entrepreneurship training: students design and launch their own social ventures. LearnServe Abroad - hands-on service-learning in Zambia, Paraguay, and Jamaica.

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Advisor

Rating: 5

LearnServe International is truly an amazing organization. I've witnessed first hand its tremendous impact. LearnServe is an enabling and mentoring organization that provides the tools and confidence to teenagers to be social entrepreneurs and "changemakers." It's impressive to see what young people can do once they identify a need in their community and are given the support and know how to make things happen.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a LearnServe Fellow from 2011- 2012, and I am now a LearnServe Ambassador. When I applied for the Fellows program, I had no idea how much it would impact my life. The program taught me how to turn an idea into an active social venture project, from the starting a needs assessment to running a pilot program. It changed the way I think about and interact with the world around me, and turned me into a leader. Throughout, I met passionate and committed people that continue to inform and inspire me. LearnServe also has incredible alumni programs, aimed at helping venture projects grow after graduation. Furthermore, my participation in the fellows program has opened up a variety of outside opportunities. LearnServe has changed my life, and I am thrilled to be an Ambassador!

Brianna3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a LSI Fellow last year and loved the program so much that I came back as an Alumni Ambassador to help out this year! I can't praise Learnserve enough; it gives high schools students the tools and skills to do something amazing for their communities and encourages global awareness and leadership. I wish every high school student could have the extraordinary and unique experience that LearnServe offers. I'm so lucky to be part of a team and organization that is so positive and passionate about making the world better for everyone.

Yasmine Arrington

Client Served

Rating: 5

LearnServe International is the best thing that has ever happened to me! LearnServe taught me how to be a CHANGEMAKER, a SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR, and a SPOKESPERSON FOR MY CAUSE. LearnServe has phenomenal cohort leaders who are trained to teach students how to launch and sustain ventures that will change their communities. LearnServe helped me to get my non-profit, ScholarCHIPS, off the group and currently serves as our fiscal agent. Without them my work would not be possible. It is thanks to LearnServe that I had the opportunity to get a scholarship and go to Zambia, Africa to spend 18 days doing service as a junior in high school. I would not change that experience for the world. LearnServe International is way beyond its years in innovation, using today's youth and preparing them to be tomorrow's leaders, while giving back to the United States community and to those abroad! Thank you LearnServe International...YOU ARE A GREAT NONPROFIT!

Hugh R.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Yes, LearnServe changes the lives of the students it serves through their Fellows and Abroad programs, but more importantly, these young people change the lives, for the better, of others and inspire their school communities to take action. They discover that one person can make a difference, and that lesson will stay with them for their lifetimes.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Learn Serve is an organization which brings students together from independent and public schools to develop ventures in social entrepreneurship that benefit their communities. The participants learn not only from their association with one another as Fellows and from developing their projects, but also some of them have the opportunity to travel together to Africa, South America and Jamaica for service projects. I have been involved almost from the very beginning and am convinced of the huge value of the work and the passion that the staff brings to this very important educational enterprise.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LearnServe empowers students to take on life's challenges head-on, and at an early age. As a volunteer I have seen students plan and execute well thought out business models and create nonprofits that make real change. Their teachers are challenging and motivating, and the students learn a lot from community leaders who volunteer their time to help review the students' projects. The students have said that LearnServe gives them confidence, direction, and helps focus them on what they want to accomplish. I would definitely recommend any teenager to this program.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My passion is the educational experience that makes you say, "Oh, I never thought about it that way before!" Over the years I have found that international travel is a guaranteed incubator for this kind of experience. But in the six years I have volunteered with LearnServe, it has shown me that this can happen across the world or right in your own back yard when you bring students and teachers from all corners of the community and focus them on creating constructive change. I love the energy, passion, honesty that the LearnServe Fellows bring to their social project planning across the DC metropolitan area. They learn from each other as much as they learn from the program, and they turn it back into their communities. In the summer, I love reading the blogs the students and teachers write from their travels with LearnServe Abroad, working in developing communities in Zambia, Paraguay or Jamaica. Again, they learn from each other and they learn from those they meet. As they work in these foreign communities, they reflect on the differences and similarities with their home communities. LearnServe programs are filled with "ah-ha" moments. I am passionate about what LearnServe accomplishes, real learning and honest service to our communities.

Client Served

Rating: 5

LearnServe changed my life. It opened my eyes to the vast world of challenges we face, but more importantly, it gave me the keys -- the knowledge, skills, and community -- to devise the solutions. Because of LearnServe, during my Junior year of high school I was able to launch a school-wide program to help empower more teens as movers and shakers within our community via social entrepreneurship. LearnServe gave me my first experience abroad--in Paraguay. Here, our delegation of young people collaborated with the local high schoolers there to design efforts aimed at alleviating poverty in the most destitute areas imaginable. LearnServe places teens in the drivers seats like no other organization. It is why I hope to give my life to something bigger. Every teen needs to experience the awesome impact of this organization.

Ben_18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Learnserve is wonderful incubator of young social entrepreneurs and changemakers, while providing experienced professionals with an opportunity to use their skills and expertise to make a difference. I've been blown away by the participant's commitment, care, and dedication, and it's been a wonderful organization to work with.

Sam_11

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was fortunate enough to travel with LearnServe International to Zambia and Paraguay to work with HIV/AIDS and community development projects and participate in the DC based LearnServe Fellows Program. The organization works hard to live up to the name. Participants learn about community issues from local leaders and serve side-by-side, with the utmost respect for "sustainable development". The LearnServe Fellows program united me with a cohort of incredibly diverse DC Metro Area teens that desired to make lasting changes. Together, we learned how to build a socially conscious business/ non-profit model to address problems in the community. LearnServe changed my views about life so much, that I returned to Paraguay to independently practice sustainable "ground-up" development. Later, I retuned to LearnServe to help teach social entrepreneurship with the LearnServe Fellows Program. I highly recommend LearnServe International to all high school students in the greater Washington, DC Metro Area.

Anthony20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended the LearnServe International Coffee House event last year and was blown away by the passion of the young people involved and the quality of presentations (elevator pitches) they made for more than 100 people. I was so pleased that LearnServe invited me to return in the Spring to serve as a panelist for the Venture Fair, where the students present their plan for a venture to address the problem they identified in the previous Fall. These were professional presentations that many adults could not have made. LearnServe empowers young people to make a difference. It does so by teaching them valuable life skills, like writing a business plan, developing a strategy and presenting before a group of people. I have now recruited a few friends and colleagues to participate as well, as all of them have been equally impressed!

TJB_

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with LearnServe International for four years and I know it has changed my life for the best. Before LearnServe International, I didn't know the type of person I wanted to be, but with the support of this organization, I now know. With being a part of LSI, I have met so many great people including Directors, Scott Rechler and Sabine Keinath. I travelled abroad to Zambia for the LearnServe Abroad trip in 2010. Because of LSI, I was given the amazing opportunity to intern for Ashoka, a global organization, which deals with the worlds leading social entrepreneurs, and I serve on the Advisory Board as a LearnServe Alum, I am proud to have my 15 year-old sister take part in the LearnServe Fellows Program as I did. Overall, I am such a fan of LearnServe! Thank you!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of serving as a guest speaker and observer of Learn Serve International (LSI) and I am a huge fan. This program motivates young people to not only discover a passion but to problem solve and seek solutions to the problems they discover. I think student walk away with an expanded awareness of issues and empowered to do something about it. I also think they gain valuable friendships that are mind and culture expanding. I highly recommend participation by young people if they want to learn, grow and impact their community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Often in our society, high school students are expected to act responsibly, and yet are not trusted enough with important jobs or positions. LearnServe International empowers students to discover that they have the potential to change the world. I was fortunate enough to participate in the program, and through their guidance was able to start a business by the time I was 17. LearnServe provided the kind of training, support, and motivation that I needed to become a social entrepreneur, and now I am in college and I’ve just won a business plan competition to start a new social venture. I owe my initial seed of inspiration entirely to LearnServe and I cannot thank them enough. The leaders at LearnServe provide an experience that is much like dunking each student in a barrel of freezing cold water; the program is entirely eye-opening and showed me a whole new world of entrepreneurship that was truly transforming.