What is ServiceWorks?

Answering President Obama’s call for new public/private national service initiatives to address and solve our nation’s most pressing challenges, ServiceWorks launched in July 2014. A joint partnership between AmeriCorps, the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress and Points of Light, ServiceWorks has a three-year charter (2014-2017) to provide 25,000 low-income youth scholars with the specific tools and platforms needed to increase their access to economic advancement through college and career success.

Working alongside local grassroots organizations, within 13 cities, the ServiceWorks team develops and implements unique plans to meet the specific needs of each community. The initiative was designed to put participants, known as “Service Scholars,” on the path to success by offering leadership development and project management skills training, mentorship and the personal sense of empowerment that comes with performing volunteer service. The goal is that the combination of these elements will help to unlock the American dream for a generation of inner-city youth and young adults who face unemployment rates in excess of 15%.


“ServiceWorks puts you on the right path, not just career-wise but also in your mind, emotionally.”


Did you know?

  • ServiceWorks currently operates in 13 cities: Atlanta, Benton Harbor (MI), Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, St. Louis and Washington, DC.

  • Across the country, SW host sites have engaged over 15,900 youth in programming including: training, coaching, or service.

  • ServiceWorks sites have engaged over 13,000 community volunteers as trainers, coaches, workshop facilitators, and project/physical service volunteers.

  • Since 2014, host sites and scholars have designed and completed 730 community service projects.

  • Over 1,000 young adults have used the online-only version that offers three courses lasting 15-20 minutes each.

Get Involved

In spring 2017, Peter Levine, Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Service and Associate Dean for Research at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, conducted a review of ServiceWorks based on assessment of program data and documents, plus interviews with participants and stakeholders. Below are some of his findings and lessons learned:

Key Findings

  • “The program’s design is consistent with previous research that shows that giving disadvantaged youth opportunities to serve their communities also strengthens skills, habits, and dispositions that help them in school, college and careers.”
  • "Numerous former participants report highly concrete benefits, from attending college to obtaining specific jobs. They also describe subtler shifts in their core values and expectations."
  • “The meetings and events that occur through ServiceWorks feel to many participants like islands of purposive, constructive, and focused work amid chaos and dysfunction that prevails elsewhere in their schools and neighborhoods.”

Lessons Learned

  • During ServiceWorks, "the students identified public policies as a cause of the problem, but their service project addressed students’ empathy, not policy....Since ServiceWorks Scholars understand the relevance of policy, it may be worth drawing on some of the experiences of Action Civics."
  • "Many Scholars’ service projects involved elements of communications or awareness-raising: Scholars organized or produced school assemblies, videos, murals, and forums for invited speakers....Since youth have considerable power as communicators, and since effective communication requires skills that are highly relevant to the 21st century workplace, it may be worth focusing more attention on communications."

Download the executive brief »

Download the full report »


Over the years, ServiceWorks has had the pleasure to work with many remarkable youth and young adults, volunteers, program staff and AmeriCorps VISTAS from across the nation. Below are just some of their amazing stories:


Daily Points of Light Recipient: LaRhonda Boone

In celebration of AmeriCorps Week 2017, Points of Light recognized Jersey Cares former ServiceWorks VISTA and current employee, LaRhonda Boone, with a Daily Points of Light award.

Youth Today

Youth Today

ServiceWorks partnered with Youth Today to feature articles written by ServiceWorks VISTAS, Service Scholars and/or volunteers on issues affecting opportunity youth.

Empowering Youth to Discover Their Potential to Create Change

Points of Light acknowledged ServiceWorks site, United Way of Greater St. Louis, for all their great work with youth and young adults in their community.

Daily Points of Light Recipient: Raquel Rios

In celebration of AmeriCorps Week 2017, Points of Light recognized Boston Cares former Service Scholar and current ServiceWorks VISTA, Raquel Rios, with a Daily Points of Light award.

ServiceWorks 'Dream Team' Pair Demonstrates Power of Mentorship

Features an answer and question session with Marc Wolensky, ServiceWorks Success Coach at Jersey Cares & Christian Illescas, ServiceWorks Alum from Jersey Cares

ServiceWorks Bootcamp Brings Project Management Skills to Young Adults in LA

In collaboration with the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and the White House Summer Opportunity Project, ServiceWorks held a bootcamp in conjunction with the LA Cash for College’s 15th Annual College and Career Convention.

ServiceWorks Online

Does your organization work with young adults 16-24 years old? Are you looking for supplemental resources to help get them on track for college and career? If so, we invite you to use our FREE ServiceWorks Online curriculum!

ServiceWorks Online is an interactive, one-hour program that offers three, 15-minute modules on professional skills. The online modules are a great introduction to goal-setting and career planning, plus encourages youth to consider how volunteerism can be part of their college and career plans.

Download our ServiceWorks Online flyer to learn more. To receive free access to ServiceWorks Online, please contact us at [email protected].

"This tool was invaluable for teaching them the best ways to identify the real needs of a community and group and then showing them how to construct and carry out the events."

— Maria Dikun, Program Coordinator, WiTNY at Cornell University
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E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: (404) 979-2900

Mailing Address:
Attention: ServiceWorks
Points of Light
600 Means Street, NW, Suite 210
Atlanta, GA 30318

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