Programs

LearnServe trains middle and high school students in social entrepreneurship through interconnected extracurricular, in-school, and summer abroad programs. Our programs prepare students to be social entrepreneurs and global citizens.

What is social entrepreneurship? +

LearnServe programs teach students how to bring sustainable change to their communities through social entrepreneurship. Students design and launch their own social “ventures” -- innovative action projects that benefit their schools and communities -- or work alongside established entrepreneurs. Throughout the process, students are in the driver’s seat: shaping ideas, defining strategy, and making the venture happen.

Inspired by thought-leading organizations such as Ashoka and Echoing Green, LearnServe considers “social entrepreneurs” as individuals with the skills and approach of an entrepreneur coupled with a deep commitment to creating positive social change. They offer innovative solutions to urgent social problems, and then work to translate these ideas into action.

Social entrepreneurs are empathetic - able to identify and articulate needs, challenges, and opportunities that others don’t.

Social entrepreneurs are creative - offering fresh approaches to seemingly intractable problems.

Social entrepreneurs are doers - taking initiative and overcoming obstacles as they act on ideas.

Social entrepreneurs are reflective - analyzing need, balancing possibility and risks, refining strategy, and learning from failure.

What skills do we teach? +

LearnServe programs introduce a combination of business and professional skills, global and civic perspectives, and social/emotional skills.

Business & Entrepreneurial Skills
Critical thinking
Problem solving
Public speaking
Financial literacy
Research

Global and Civic Perspectives
Understand the connection between local & global issues
Ongoing commitment to social issues

Social & Emotional Skills
Communication
Teamwork
Self-confidence
Empathy
Cross-cultural fluency
Resilience

Why social entrepreneurship? +

We believe in the power of young people to create change. They have the energy, creativity, and passion to identify injustice and drive positive social change. Yet often they feel powerless to act on that potential -- they don’t believe in themselves, particularly when the adults around them don’t believe in them. LearnServe helps young people find their voice. Through social entrepreneurship we spark students’ passion to make a difference, and offer the tools to make an impact.

We believe that leading change has the power to transform young people. We hope that each student-led venture launches, offering tangible benefits to real communities. But even if these projects do not launch, the following take root: the self-perception of being problem-solvers, the ability to break down complex problems into achievable goals, and the experience of translating an idea into action. In the process, students learn critical personal and professional skills which they, in turn, carry into college and their careers.