Spring 2014



On Saturday, March 1, more than 125 high school students came together on the American University campus for LearnServe's first-ever Social Action Summit.  Participants chose from workshops led by LearnServe alumni and volunteers on topics ranging from design building to spoken word, social media to public policy.

Anshula Gandhi, a Fellows Program alumna and Summit volunteer, describes the event:

After being warmly welcomed, I peeped into a session I had been dying to go to: Supporting Student Science Education.  My friend and I had been planning on starting an after-school club for teaching computer science to elementary schoolers, but we didn't know where to start.  Jessica Yang shared her experiences of founding her own branch of KAST (Kids Are Scientists Too.)  I learned not only from Jessica, but from the students around me.   I felt so lucky to be at a conference so densely concentrated with bright, passionate students: the kind of students only LearnServe could bring together.  The Monday after the summit, I raved about the summit as I shared my notes with my computer science venture partner.

Thank you to Lisle International and American University's School of International Service for supporting LearnServe's inaugural Summit.


Alli Baugher, LearnServe Zambia Program Leader and Spanish teacher at Ballou High School, shares her belief in the power of overseas travel  inspired by students such as Sache Collier, shown above:

I would imagine that most of those reading this newsletter already believe in the extraordinary impact of travel and service abroad, either as the result of personal experience or through observing the transformation of others.  Students are joining hands with other young people around the world and during their short two weeks of travel are working to empower young women, providing environmental education, teaching HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention and improving learning environments by painting murals in schools and providing academic resources.  However the greatest opportunity for social change is in the transformation of mind and aspiration in our DC youth.  They return to the DC area with a new-found understanding of their privilege and desire to have an impact on social justice issues at home.


This year the LearnServe Abroad program will be working with 4 students and 2 teachers from Ballou High School.  Please consider making a donation to the LearnServe Abroad program, so that LearnServe can continue to offer students and teachers like these the opportunity for travel, learning, and personal growth.  If you would like to be more involved, you'll want to check out our new Abroad Allies campaign where you can sponsor a student this summer.


Hanna Batlan knows that women and girls have the ability to change the world.  Hanna is a LearnServe Fellow representing Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school, and is active in School Girls Unite, an organization that supports girls' education in Mali.  Through School Girls Unite, Hanna realized that women's representation is key to unlocking their potential.

Examples of women's accomplishments surround residents of Washington, DC - but they are not often depicted or discussed at school or in the media.  Hanna plans to actively connect these two issues in a way that's both fun and educational through ActionMapping.  She founded ActionMapping to organize themed scavenger hunts that use art and competition to foster discovery of influential women and their historical accomplishments.

The first scavenger hunt is planned for May 3, and will have the theme of "Firsts."  Without giving away too many secrets, locations may include the National Museum for Women in the Arts or the Supreme Court building.

Find out more about ActionMapping, and 60 other youth-led social ventures, at the 2014 LearnServe Panels and Venture Fair, on Thursday, April 24 at the School Without Walls.

RSVP for the 2014 LearnServe Panels and Venture Fair


Alli Baugher is a graduate of Susquehanna University with degrees in Spanish, Religion and Music, and American University with a MA in Teaching Secondary World Language.  She is a Teach for America ’08 alumna and is currently a Spanish teacher at her placement school, Ballou Senior High School, where she founded and directs the Ballou International Education Program. 

Alli grew up in Gettysburg, PA where she is the sixth generation in her family-owned and operated fruit tree business.  Her first exposure to Spanish was working in the orchard with predominantly Hispanic migrant workers during the summers and her first international trip was with her parents to visit apple growers in the south of France.  Her passion for travel and service grew in college when she participated twice in Susquehanna’s service-learning program in Central America and a semester abroad in Merida, Mexico.  Alli is thrilled that as a LearnServe Abroad Program Leader, she has the opportunity to provide the same sort of meaningful international service experiences to students all over the DC area including some of her own.  Alli has co-led the LearnServe Paraguay program, and this year is co-leader of LearnServe Zambia.


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