NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. /New York Netwire/ — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford and Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced that 572,229 New York City public schools students have performed 7,874 unique service projects to improve their communities as a part of Service in Schools, an initiative of NYC Service and the Department of Education.

Over the past year, students in all five boroughs participated in projects which included planting school gardens, holding canned food drives, and assembling packages for home-bound seniors, among other projects. Additionally, 35 schools were recognized for excellence in engaging their students in service. The announcement took place at Gracie Mansion, where the Mayor hosted a celebration for Service in Schools participants.

“These service projects clearly changed our City for the better – but they also changed the students who completed them,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “By getting students involved with their communities and allowing them to see the power of service, we hope we have instilled in them values that they will hold for a lifetime. We’re very proud of what our students have accomplished already, but we’re even more excited about what they will do in the future – how they will build on their commitment to service in college, in their careers, and throughout their entire lives.”

“I am incredibly proud of our schools and students for their service work and contributions to their communities,” said Chancellor Walcott. “Civic participation is essential to our City, and our students are showing that they are eager to take advantage of these opportunities to give back. I look forward to seeing even greater participation next year.”

“One of the main goals of NYC Service is to make service a core part of what it means to be a New Yorker,” said Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford. “By encouraging our public school students to become involved in their communities through service, we are planting the seeds for a lifetime of service and cultivating our next generation of volunteers.”

Service in Schools supports the expansion of service and service-learning programs in New York City public schools. The program began in the 2009-2010 school year, when 400,832 students worked on service projects. This school year, the Administration aimed to engage 500,000 students in over 1,500 unique service projects. In order to achieve that goal, schools were offered a range of resources, including direct assistance in development of their service plans and the opportunity to attend a City-wide training for schools this past February. Surveys were conducted throughout the year to gauge progress of each school against its stated plan.

Additionally, Service in Schools hosted its first annual awards for schools. Schools applied for either the Remarkable Growth in Service Award, distributed to schools with impressive inaugural service and service-learning initiatives, or the Excellence in Service Award, given to schools with developed and exceptional service or service-learning programs. Over 150 applications were received. This evening, the Mayor and Chancellor distributed the awards to the following 35 schools:

Remarkable Growth in Service: Bronx: Banana Kelly High School, Bronx Early College Academy for Teaching & Learning, Bronx Career and College Preparatory High School; Brooklyn: P.S. 023 Carter G. Woodson, M.S. 246 Walt Whitman, Brownsville Academy High School, Clara Barton High School, P.S. 279 Herman Schreiber, High School for Medical Professions, P.S. 199 Frederick Wachtel, Brooklyn College Academy; Manhattan: The High School for Language and Diplomacy, International High School at Union Square, Esperanza Preparatory Academy, P.S. 129 John H. Finley; Queens: P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott; Staten Island: Staten Island School of Civic Leadership

Excellence in Service: Bronx: Health Opportunities High School, P.S. 069 The New Vision School, P.S. 132 Garret A. Morgan, P.S. 086 Kingsbridge Heights, J.H.S. 118 William W. Niles, P186X Walter J. Damrosch School; Brooklyn: P.S. 269 Nostrand; Manhattan: Pace High School, Baruch College Campus High School, Eleanor Roosevelt High School; Queens: Pan American International High School, J.H.S. 189 Daniel Carter Beard, Bayside High School, Richmond Hill High School, Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School, P.S. 078; Staten Island: P.S. 019 The Curtis School, I.S. 024 Myra S. Barnes

Additionally, Chancellor Walcott announced a partnership with the Jefferson Awards’ Youth Service Challenge and Ways to Help, which chose Eleanor Roosevelt High School to receive a national award for excellence in service. Eleanor Roosevelt High School was chosen for one of only seven national awards, out of more than 2,800 eligible entries nationwide. The Youth Service Challenge, a new enterprise of the Jefferson Awards, aims to increase student-driven service projects throughout the country.

“The Jefferson Awards was founded to recognize, inspire and activate volunteers across America,” said Sam Beard, co-founder of the Jefferson Awards. “We’re excited to be working with the NYC Department of Education to engage the city’s youth in service through innovative programs like the Youth Service Challenge.”

About NYC Service
NYC Service was launched by Mayor Bloomberg in April 2009 to meet his State of the City pledge for New York City to lead the nation in answering President Obama’s national call to volunteerism. NYC Service is meeting its goals to make New York City the easiest place in the world to volunteer, target volunteer efforts to address the most pressing local challenges, and promote service as a core part of what it means to be a New Yorker. NYC Service aims to drive volunteer resources to six impact areas where New York City’s needs are greatest: strengthening communities, helping neighbors in need, improving education, increasing public health, enhancing emergency preparedness and protecting our environment.