City Corps is a community service learning program built to affect the positive youth development of 12-24 year olds. Project-based service learning activities enable youth experiences which facilitate civic responsibility and active citizenship, foster leadership development, enable the discernment of career pathways, and nurture personal growth and initiative.
City Corps uses the community as a classroom and platform for experiential learning and hands-on training. City Corps sees the engaged development of young people in the community as an investment in the community’s own future. Through a diversity of community-based projects such as wetland restoration, community gardening, “town-keeping” activities, and community event hosting, youth receive exposure to diverse professions, a plethora of experiences, and work and marketplace standards such as dependability and commitment to a quality of work. Embedded within all projects are modes for instilling solid values, strong work ethics, and an acceptance and celebration of diversity.
Youth are able to engage in service which embeds their academic learning in real-world experiences. Reflection activities and related instruction serve as connecting tools between classroom instruction and the community-based learning.
Real life experiences are developed in terms of exploring aspects of jobs, careers, and academic pathways, learning about actual opportunities for employment in the city, and testing out careers/academic pathways to assess the goodness of fit with their interests. Soft skill and hard skill development are incorporated into projects.
Youth engagement in community service projects establishes a sense of worth and utility among the youth. The community also values the youths’ energy and service and welcomes them as community members.