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Community Services – Middle

Community Involvement and Service Learning

A major lesson learned from the history of the Fox Theatre is that community involvement can and does make a difference in the lives of the citizens of a community.

Schools are a wonderful training ground for involved citizens. Students can help their community, and learn life lessons in participation and service. Providing community service allows students to contribute to the common good of the community, while the inquiry approach to defining and researching problems helps students develop the skills to acquire and evaluate information. By sharing opinions with others, students learn to present arguments and propose policy solutions to problems they have identified.

Some Ways That Students Can Help The Community

Level: Middle school and high school

Subject: Service learning

Preparation: Have students select an activity from the list below. Depending on time and commitment, have students go to city hall and develop a list of jobs they can do for the community. What kind of service learning projects can your students do?

The options are limitless, but here are a few ideas to get your thinking started.
Each student become a phone pal with an elderly person in your community. Contact a senior citizens' home near you or call the American Association of Retired Persons Eldercare Locator. Donate your old clothes and books to a homeless shelter. Volunteer. If you're an athlete, call the parks and recreation department and see if you can help out in a sports program. If you love books, volunteer at the local library. If you're a musician, volunteer to perform for shut-ins or kindergartners. If you're an outdoors person, see if you can help the Audubon Society, Sierra Club, or The Nature Conservancy. Learn CPR.
Help build a house. Call Habitat for Humanity and see if they are sponsoring a local program.
Vote. Remind your family members to vote. Help get out the vote. Call a political party and pitch in on Election Day. Shovel a neighbor's walk or take out his garbage. Go to a school board meeting. Find out what the adults are concerned about and how they spend the money that is allotted for education.
Next time a newspaper article about a local problem gets under your skin, think of something you can do – and do it! Make an appointment to interview the reporter who covers schools and educational issues in your community. Find out what the newspaper thinks is important and why. Share your opinion.

In teams, organize a book drive. Collect books for homeless shelters. Next time you have a big party, donate the leftover food to a local charity. Volunteer to help in a beach or park cleanup. Or organize a cleanup of your own. join a service club together. Or start your own club!

As a Class, next election, produce a local voter's guide. Start a community service club. Create a school garden. Adopt a bus shelter. Paint it. Write a letter. Write to a company about its environmental programs. Include appropriate praise and suggestions for improvement. E-mail the president of the United States or your senator or congressional representative. Write a play about a cause that students care about. Rehearse, sell tickets, perform, and donate the proceeds to the cause. Find out more about the history of your community. Invite a local historian to visit your school. Go on a field trip to a local history museum. Adopt a class at the local elementary school. Tutor younger students in reading, math, writing, or other subjects. Envision what your school could be in 10 years. Discuss how you might make this vision come true. Organize a school recycling program. You might even earn some money! Start an oral history project. Record interviews with seniors about their memories of your community. Donate the reports to the local history museum or library. Organize an open house for the school's neighbors. Invite residents, local police officers, and fire fighters. Adopt a park. Spend an afternoon every month cleaning up the park.

Assessing Service Learning. Use this form as a self-reflective assessment tool for students.