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Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning

"The end of all education should surely be service to others." --Cesar E. Chavez.

As described by his family, Cesar Chavez was an ordinary man with an extraordinary legacy of great accomplishment and service to humanity. Cesar Chavez believed that people have an obligation to contribute to their community. To ensure that the life, work, and values of Cesar Chavez continue to inspire all Californians, former Governor Grey Davis signed legislation to establish March 31st as Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning, a state holiday. Under this law, grants were made promoting service to communities in California with an emphasis on providing instruction and service opportunities for public K-12 students that highlighted the life and contributions of Cesar Chavez. Additionally, the bill required that the State Board of Education adopt a model curriculum guide for use by public schools for exercises related to Cesar Chavez Day.

Since the creation of this state holiday, over 5,000 CSU students and 39,000 K-12 students have participated in service-learning activities through programs sponsored by CSU campuses. In 2002, 13 CSU campuses collectively received close to $900,000 in grants from the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism (GO SERV). Through these 13 grants, CSU campuses received funding to engage their campus members, K-12 school children, and community members in service-learning activities that honored the legacy and values of Cesar Chavez.

  • March 31, 2003 marked the third annual Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning, a state holiday in remembrance of Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers union, and pioneer in the struggles for fair wages and humane working conditions for farm workers and their families. Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning is a moving reminder of the relevance of Cesar's legacy and testament to his leadership. In the spirit of service learning, millions of Californians from across the state, in both urban and rural communities, came together to honor his life and work.
  • In 2002, sixty-four service-learning projects across the state were awarded funding through the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism (GO SERV). Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning created opportunities for community members, college students, and K-12 students to come together and make a difference in their communities by carrying on Cesar's legacy. Californians engaged in service-learning activities such as: planting community gardens, gleaning produce to donate to food banks, refurbishing community centers, meeting with farm workers, and improving environmental habitats.
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Judy Botelho
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Last Updated: February 15, 2018