An Islandwood employee showed us this video a few weeks back and I cannot get the image of this young boy collecting water for natural disaster victims out of my mind. His instinctual generosity is so beautiful. Since then, I have been researching service-learning and it’s benefits on school aged children. Many schools have already recognized the positive role that service-learning plays in the student’s lives and have implemented it as a prerequisite for graduation. The Chicago school district, which is the 3rd largest district in the nation, just behind L.A and New York City, requires that its high school students complete 40 hours of community service before receiving their diploma. Their struggle comes from defining what constitutes service-learning. With the positive impact that it can have in the child’s life and in the lives of the people they are helping, I believe that it is a term worth defining.
If you are an educator who would like to get your class involved in your community there are many programs out there to help you get the funding that you might need to get started. It is never too early to start. A five year old child can recognize things in their community that they would like to improve. Please share any stories or ideas that you have for classroom service-learning projects so that we can learn from others about how to improve the lives of others while enriching the lives of our students!
(This is a link to Learn and Serve America, which has grants available for classrooms who are beginning a service-learning project!)