National Service Project 2015 - 2016: Connected Communities

The EAST Initiative spoke with Russell Carey of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation about its work with nonprofits and how EAST students can help them.

See Stephanie Meincke, president and CEO of the Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance, talk about common needs of Arkansas nonprofits.

See EAST students and EAST President and CEO Matt Dozier introduce this year's National Service Project.

The National Service Project for the 2015-2016 school year is “Connected Communities.” In the past, students were encouraged to complete a project dealing with the NSP theme. This year, EAST is pushing our students to think beyond a single EAST project and instead focus on developing a partnership with a local nonprofit group, government entity, university, etc. that needs help fulfilling its mission. A partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship between at least two groups that helps both groups fulfill their respective missions.

If you already have a partnership-based project you’ll be working on this year, or have made plans to develop a project from a partnership, tell us about it here.

What to think about as you cultivate partnerships:

Nonprofit NeedsEAST Program Needs
Resources (people, money, time, in-kind) Nonprofit leaders to speak to their class
Technology (videos, websites, maps, etc.) Nonprofits to tell them what they need help with
Volunteers (to use your skills not just pick up trash) A reason to use their technology/skills to help others
Leadership (perhaps a student position on their board, or for a specific project) Leadership opportunities
Community partnerships (nonprofits often run on a very tight budget and require cooperation from other community supports to continue their mission) Community partnerships
More staff to meet demand (Could you and your kids help them write a grant?) Summer, or after school internship opportunities
Positive press (They need to tell their story) Positive press (You need to tell your story)

Tips for a successful partnership:
Take the lead in setting up meetings and follow through.
Allow time for relationship and project development.
Be clear about your expectations and needs (put them in writing).
Listen to what your partner is saying they need and also assess for their commitment to providing the time necessary to see it through.
Take time to celebrate the end of the project with the students, nonprofit partner, and EAST so they are all aware of the value of their work.

25 Questions/methods to kick off this years NSP!

  1. Who did you work with last year; did you solve every problem that group has, or is there more you can do?
  2. Did you complete a small project last year that you can build into a full fledged partnership this year?
  3. What exactly is a partnership and how is that different than a project?
  4. Who in your area is doing something that impacts your community, and will they come talk to your class about their mission?
  5. Who is it at your school that knows EVERYONE? Ask them to introduce you to someone.
  6. Do you have a principal or superintendent that volunteers their time with an organization in town? If you don’t know ask them.
  7. Try clicking on several of the links to the right to see if that gets your ideas flowing.
  8. What skills do you and your classmates have that _____ organization doesn’t have?
  9. What technology do you have access to that _____ organization doesn’t have?
  10. Would the organization be willing to help your classroom buy a decent camera to use during all of your projects if you agree to help them by taking photos of their next big event and handling PR for them?
  11. If you are in a small town, I encourage you to think larger. Help a national organization, statewide organization, or one within your county.
  12. Do any of your parents work for a nonprofit, the local government, fire department, etc? Ask them what they need help with.
  13. Find a nonprofit organization with a calendar of events and (as a class) brainstorm one thing EAST can do for every item on that calendar.
  14. Most nonprofits have a board of directors. Would your partner be willing to add a student seat onto their board?
  15. What are you passionate about? Is there a need in your community for a new nonprofit? Perhaps you should start it?
  16. What is your superpower (drawing, talking with others, outworking your peers, building, lifting heavy objects, etc.)? Could a group use your superpower?
  17. Do you need a job for the Summer? Would you rather dig ditches or ask the local Boys and Girls Club that you have worked with all year to provide two EAST students internship slots for Summer or after school hours?
  18. Time and money are two of the biggest hurdles for nonprofits. Do you have time to help them write a grant? Perhaps a grant that could help your class purchase some equipment to help them complete a project and then allow your class to keep the equipment?
  19. If there isn’t a nonprofit in your area that helps homeless youth and your area has identified that as a problem … is there a nonprofit that might want to expand to your area?
  20. A partnership can have more than two programs. Perhaps all of your EAST programs in the district want to work together to adopt an organization? Perhaps all of the programs in the county?
  21. Read through your local newspaper and ask them if they know of any groups that could use some assistance.
  22. Invite people from your community into your classroom to present about their mission.
  23. Use ENO to your advantage; use it as a way to cross-promote your work in EAST and the work your partner organization(s) are doing.
  24. Plan ahead. What questions do you want to ask when you talk to a potential partner? What questions do you think they will ask you?
  25. Plan to celebrate the beginning of the partnership and major milestones along the way.


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This page was last updated on Thursday, July 7, 2016 at 2:27:25 PM