How do you put Service Learning into practice? BJE Impact suggests the following framework to guide implementation of Jewish Service Learning programs and experiences. Not all Service Learning experiences include ALL of these steps–remember that the three important aspects of Service Learning are Learn, Act, Reflect. As you plan any Service Learning program, keep those three aspects in mind. However, below is a deeper framework for doing this. Adapt for your own programs–and please comment and offer your own suggestions!

1.      Investigate, Interpret, Ideate 

Students discover and assess the needs of their community; define a problem/issue to address; prepare questions to research; identify people (individuals, groups, experts), texts, and stories to take inspiration from; identify themes; bring what they already know and think to the discussion; begin to brainstorm how to take action.

2.      Frame 

Educator/facilitator identifies educational goals and points of integration with his/her curriculum, as well as resources and content to contextualize and inform the students’ research.

Students engage in researching the questions they identified to better understand the problem; identify partnerships and resources; determine what type of service to engage in (direct, indirect, or advocacy/education) in order to address the problem; refine and test their ideas from Step 1 to develop an action plan for their service; create a timeline, budget, and tasks.

(check out our Learn and Educate sections for resources to help in these two steps. And, please add your own resources to our library!)

3.      Act 

Students engage in the project they have planned, utilizing one of the types of service:

Direct Service: students directly serve the population in need (i.e., feeding the hungry).

Indirect Service: students perform service that benefits a specific population, without directly coming into contact with that population (i.e., helping to stock and inventory a food pantry).

Advocacy/Education: students raise awareness within their community about a particular issue, and about how to make an impact on the issue. (i.e., educating their community about the impact of food deserts on their local community, and ways to make healthy, affordable food more accessible).

(visit our Act section for organizations that provide opportunities for students to volunteer and act on a variety of issues)

4.    Reflect

Students construct a deeper understanding of what they learned and experienced; make meaning; draw conclusions. (See our Reflection area for ideas for this step)

5.      Celebrate & Demonstrate 

Students share what they have learned, experienced, and accomplished with their community and partnerships; receive feedback.

(Having your students submit a blog post to our Reflection/”My Impact” section is a great way to have them share what they have learned)

6.      Evaluate & Evolve 

Students define and reflect on the success and challenges of their service; integrate feedback; plan future steps.



Design Thinking for Educators, Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators,

GenerationOn, “I.P.A.R.D.E.” Igniting the Power of All Kids–The Steps to Service Learning.

National Service Knowledge Network, Designing a Service Learning Program in Ten Steps,