Service-Learning 8

Project: Service-Learning 8

Guided Discovery

While the group was discussing substance use, the SL Facilitator provided some information around which demographics were most likely to struggle with substance use. One of these groups is LGBTQ+ youth, and the chances double if those folks are experiencing homelessness. This inspired Jose, Robin and E.K. to choose LGBTQ+ substance use as the focus for their project. After speaking with Andy Robinson from DPH, the group realized that prevention starts with creating safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ youth.


After deciding their topic, most of their research centered around services that are provided and accessible to LGBTQ+ folks struggling with drug use. One of the most helpful parts of their research was when they had the chance to speak with Andy Robinson, the Lead Program Coordinator for the Substance Misuse Prevention Unit of MA DPH.

Lesson Plan/Activity

Students used data from the Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health to inform their project. The 8th Grade Research Journal, adapted from KIDS As Planners Resources, can be found here:


Students advocated for the addition of more LGBTQIA+ books to our ELA classrooms and Rainbow Library and raised awareness about resources available for youth during PRIDE month celebrations. They presented their identified problem, research, and proposed action at the networking event and received funding from the MA Service Alliance.

Community Impacts

The students were able to add more books, specifically the high school collection of GLSEN’s Rainbow Library books, to add to Salem Academy’s own Rainbow Library. The group wanted to make sure other students felt seen and uplift and amplify voices of the LGBTQIA+ community. The impact of this is still being measured. A few measures we have in place include: tracking the books that are being checked-out, more attendance at SAGA and NAGLY.


SEL Competencies

Relationship Skills

Social Emotional Learning

Collaboration, compromise and conflict-resolution Effective communication both inside and outside of our school community Organizational skills

Contact Information

Fallon Burke (

District Name

Salem Academy Charter School

School Name

Salem Academy Charter School



Number of Teachers


Number of Students


Grade Level(s)



Monthly, on Service-Learning half days and additionally blocks of 1 hour increments.

Community Partners

Andy Robinson, Lead Program Coordinator, Substance Misuse Prevention Unit of MA DPH Megan Bowen, Director of Educational Technology, Salem Academy Charter School Massachusetts Service Alliance

Content Areas

[“English Language Arts & Literacy”,”Comprehensive Health”]

Skills or Knowledge Learned

Students were able to practice their writing and research skills. Writing skills included drafting correspondence with community partners, drafting their project proposals and action plans, and working on their presentation. Another skill was the ability to communicate thoughtfully with community partners, specifically organizations that already exist like NAGLY NorthShore. These students also worked on their research skills. Additionally, collaboration was a big takeaway for this group; at times, their end goals did not align, but we were able to resolve that and pick one goal (even though that goal was not met 100%).