I think that volunteer service is a crucial component in developing students and influential citizens. With that said, I chose two projects that (I believe) have three very important components:

  •  Students responsible for idea composition and project execution.
  • Crucial Reflection process.
  • Community Involvement.

Human Barometer: “The objectives of this project are to have students think critically and independently about contemporary civil rights issues, motivate students to develop high quality service-learning projects that address said issues, and have students understand how their peers and students from other high schools across their city or town feel about  contemporary civil rights issues” (http://www.servicelearning.org/slice/resource/human-barometer). I would really like to see this project turn into something that could serve as a reminder of the progress that our society has made and also an instrument to realize how we can be more aware of the steps that still need to be taken. I like the open-forum approach with this project because I think it’s important for students to have opportunities to voice concerns and promote their ideas in a welcoming setting. I think that the forum provides an excellent space for reflection as well.

Role of Parks and Open Spaces in Society: “Learners will research the history of the National Park Service, the EPA, and the role of local park & recreation departments. After they have gained an understanding of the functions and importance of these departments, as well as the value of preserving open space, they will implement a service project in which they will collaborate with local leaders and organizations in order to clean up a local park. Through research, reflection, and contact with the local government regarding the protection of parkland, they will develop their English and social studies skills and also learn about environmental impacts and protection” (http://www.servicelearning.org/slice/resource/role-parks-and-open-spaces-society). This is a project that I am very passionate about. When I was a Team Leader for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, my team had the privilege of working with the Hamilton County Parks and Rec department in Indiana. While working with this organization, we learned the importance of green spaces and the different ways a Parks and Rec department can be a positive influence in the community. Unfortunately with the economy, one of the first departments in a city that receives budget cuts are the Parks and Recreation departments so a lot of their revenue and work is done by volunteers. I think that this project would be a great way to unite the students in the community to help preserve their green spaces and utilize their parks to their full potential.

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