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    Date submitted
  • 14-Feb-2018



i-Serve is partnering with schools, nonprofits, and policy makers to bring community service and leadership development to K-12 curriculums across the United States.

Through i-Serve's model, more resources will go towards supporting our communities and nonprofit sector, the next generation can be one more civically engaged than every before, and America can be united by the common ethic of service.


Original YouTube URL: Open

Introduction Video

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Schools: While i-Serve plans to eventually bring community service and leadership development curriculum to the United States’ entire K-12 education system, it must test its product before being introduced to the wider market. For that reason, i-Serve aims to first make its way to individual classrooms and then schools. Students: All K-12 students will participate in i-Serve’s service component and leadership development curriculum. Nonprofits: While i-Serve aims to partner with nonprofits that provide indirect-service and direct-service, it will focus primarily on the latter. These include, but are not limited to: soup kitchens, old-age homes, mentorship programs, and animal shelters. Policy Makers: i-Serve recognizes that in order to bring its model to the city, state, or national level, it will need the approval of policy makers. On each level, i-Serve will communicate with dozens of elected representatives and officials from departments of education to advocate for making community service and leadership development part of K-12 curriculums.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

With tens of millions of our neighbors in poverty and despair, with an under-resources nonprofit sector, and with several crises that threaten the future of the United States and the world, the need for service and leadership has never been greater nor more urgent. Since the Civil War, there have been few other times in which our country was as divided as it is now. Abraham Lincoln once warned: "United we stand; divided we fall." Our education system lacks a mechanism that brings together people of all backgrounds and teaches them to trust each other, work together, and make a positive impact on their communities. Our nonprofit sector is lifeline for millions of Americans, and is yet severely under-resourced. A recent study by the Nonprofit Finance Fund found that 52 percent of nonprofits were not able to keep up with increasing demand for their services, and that direct-service remains the most difficult area for them to attract and retain employees.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

Community Service: i-Serve will facilitate partnerships between schools and community service organizations. From grades K-5, students will engage in indirect-service every two weeks. This means that the service component of their curriculum will revolve around projects such as, but not limited to: cleaning up local parks, organizing food or clothing drives, making bagged lunches for soup kitchens, and sending cards to hospitals or military personnel. From grades 6-12, as students will primarily engage in direct-service every two weeks. This means that the service component of the curriculum will revolve around projects such as, but not limited to: serving guests at soup kitchens, visiting old-age homes, mentoring younger students, and volunteering at animal shelters. Leadership Development: Fundamental to i-Serve’s leadership development program is its “SERVICE Model of Leadership.” SERVICE stands for the seven values that i-Serve believes are central to being a great leader and citizen: sincerity, empathy, responsibility, vision, integrity, courage, and empowerment. i-Serve will be using several resources to develop these values in each student. These include, but are not limited to: reflection after service, assigned readings, short films, and case studies on moral dilemmas. Once a week, classrooms will engage in these activities. Each grade from K-12 will have a distinct theme that their classroom and volunteer experiences focus on (e.g. 3rd grade focuses on the environment; 6th grade focuses on veteran affairs; 11th grade focuses on homelessness). i-Serve will also be developing an online catalog titled Why I Serve, in which people who chose a life of service will explain why they did so. Teachers may use this catalog to spark classroom discussions, and students may consult it whenever they need inspiration. i-Serve’s curriculum will not be a concrete collection of lesson plans that educators must follow; instead, it will be a framework created with the intent to be modified to suit each teacher’s creative spirit, and each classroom’s individual needs.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

i-Serve’s competitors focus on either curriculum-building, community service, or policy-making, but never all three. No other organization seeks to bring community service and leadership development to K-12 curriculums across the United States. These models operate to benefit one direct target audience, and hope that the results will trickle down to other aspects of society. As a result, important stakeholders are left without a voice, and interinstitutional frameworks remain the same. i-Serve addresses this problem by facilitating partnerships between multiple equally-important stakeholders, and creates a dynamic where the partners trade their surpluses for their deficits (e.g. nonprofits have a surplus of volunteer opportunities, but a deficit in human capital; schools have a surplus in human capital, but a deficit in volunteer opportunities. The two form a partnership and address each other’s needs). While this system may naturally come about through the models of other organizations, i-Serve is committed to actively making sure that it happens. Unlike any national program, i-Serve trains students through the entire K-12 experience to become engaged citizens and empathetic leaders. Through this end, i-Serve accomplishes the mission of all these other organizations. i-Serve’s leadership development curriculum is unique, both in its means and its ends. Inspired by Nobel Learning Communities (www.nobellearning.com), an organization that manages 200 private schools across the United States, i-Serve’s themes each grade’s curriculum around a different social issue. Aside from Nobel Learning, i-Serve has found no organization that does the same. All of i-Serve’s direct service and reflections tie directly back to i-Serve SERVICE Model of Leadership. Through "Why I Serve," i-Serve has a mechanism to inspire members of the public to think about and engage with service.