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Youth Service Column

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School-based community-service programs can have an extremely positive effect on students' social, psychological, and intellectual development, according to a report released by the National Center on Effective Secondary Schools.

The report, a review of existing research on the impact of school-based service programs on high-school students, notes that such studies vary greatly in precision and sophistication.

But findings consistently indicate, it asserts, that students taking part in such programs can develop a heightened sense of personal and social responsibility, more positive attitudes toward adults and those served, enhanced self esteem, growth in moral and ego development, more complex patterns of thought, and greater theoretical sophistication.

The report estimates from 1984 data that about 27 percent of high schools offer community-service programs, with private schools more likely to do so. About 900,000 high-school students, or 6.6 percent, are involved in school-based service, it estimates.

The study reports signs of growing interest in school-based service programs, but says that other political pressures could keep the issue on the fringes of legislative and educational agendas.

The report, written by two University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, Dan Conrad and Diane Hedin, is available from the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research, 1025 W. Johnson St., Madison, Wis. 53706; telephone, (608) 263-7575.

Members of the Coalition for National Service have signed an agreement with officials in the ussr that paves the ways for the first Soviet-American Youth Service program, to be known by the acronym says.

The program aims to bring together Soviet and American youths between the ages of 18 and 25 to serve on teams tackling such problems as environmental pollution, housing rehabilitation, public health, conservation, and economic development.

Under the plan, still being developed, existing youth groups in America, such as the New York City Volunteer Corps, and their Soviet counterparts would serve as hosts for the teams.

Donald Eberly, executive director of the National Service Secretariat and an organizer of the project, said a Soviet delegation is expected to come to the United States in April to finalize plans for the program.

The Hitachi Foundation is accepting nominations for the third annual Yoshiyama Awards, offered to U.S. high-school seniors for exemplary service to their communities.

The award includes a $5,000 gift over two years. Nominations will be accepted until May 15, with six winners to be chosen in August. Information is available by calling (202) 457-0588.--lj

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