Service learning is one of the most rewarding means to give back to the community while enriching one’s experience.
We at YudaBands.org, have committed ourselves to sharing various service learning projects with many schools throughout the years. It’s been a fruitful journey for us, as well as for our fellow students, teachers, and volunteers.
But first: What is service learning?
To quote Vanderbilt University’s Janet S. Eyler service learning is: “a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students. . . seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves. In the process, students link personal and social development with academic and cognitive development. Experience enhances understanding; understanding leads to more effective action.”
The beauty of service learning
There are so many reasons to be part of a service learning project. For one, there’s nothing like being part of a community. A community that goes above and beyond the call of duty and making it their personal mission to help various groups in numerous ways. Also, service learning projects have allowed us to see the world, meet people and expand our thinking beyond our everyday life. We’ve experienced what it truly means to live.
As people who’s made it their life’s work to serve others, we desire nothing more than to get more people involved, particularly high school students.
Starting your service learning projects for high school students
If you are thinking of initiating your very own high school service learning project, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips to get started.
1. Start small
Don’t take on more than you can handle early on. It may discourage you to move forward. We highly advise you start small first. Take on one or two courses each project.
Starting small will allow you, and other practitioners, to evaluate which part of the project will work and which one won’t. Moreover, it gives you the forecast of things to come. It gives you the opportunity to get organized as early as possible.
2. Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Surely, you have a lot of service learning ideas in your mind. We were like that when we were getting started. However, too many ideas may lead to information overload. The best thing to do is ask help.
Form a faculty board or a group that will aid in facilitating your advocacy. They can support you and organize your thoughts. This group can also contribute to establishing handbooks and guidelines, so everyone is on the same page.
3. Be creative with your ideas
Imagination and creativity are what brought the Yuda Bands Project to where it is now. It started as a random idea: make bracelets and sell them to school. Now, it is a full-blown organization that has sent countless students to school
Why not research about a local community or landmark and learn about its history? From there, you can think of ways on how to serve this landmark while preserving its historical integrity. You can even beautify your school by creating inspirational works of art throughout the premises. That or you can organize an outreach program to help underprivileged kids in your area.
4. Get everyone involved
Teamwork is what gets you from farther to further. It’s the community you build, help and work with that will help you realize your service learning ideas. That’s exactly how we were able to make the idea of YUDA into reality. We needed all the help we can get, and we were always open to the ideas of everyone.
When starting your high school service learning project, don’t take on everything. The people you’re going to serve with are just as passionate as you. They want to be part of it as much as you do. So get everyone involved. The road will be easier to take, and it will be much more rewarding.