Service-learning refers to activities children and youth perform that benefit others while enhancing their own knowledge and skills. Reflection is widely regarded as the critical element that makes a service activity a learning experience. Any service-learning can be considered a civic engagement, but the depth of engagement can vary. For example, when young people who help in a soup kitchen, a well-known service-learning activity, move to involving low-income people in creating community gardens and running the kitchen themselves, their civic engagement deepens.

Civic engagement includes some activities that might not be considered service, such as participation in partisan politics. Democratic societies can only survive if each new cohort of young people commits to the values and acquires the competencies and habits of mind that activate ...

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