“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” – Aristotle
At Lexis Preparatory School, this quote provides guidance for the service learning process for all of our middle and high school students. We find it crucial for them to be involved in actively DOING something to positively impact our community and world.
One of our main goals for service learning is to make students aware. Awareness is crucial in our world. Awareness of global and community issues educates our students in an open, informed discussion. When students become aware of the needs in the world, it is amazing to see how quickly they want to jump into action. We follow the steps provided by Youth Service America. Our students are asked to investigate, prepare and plan, act, reflect, demonstrate and celebrate! Actively participating in the service learning experience, students utilize many important life skills. Our groups must first set SMART goals, plan and organize their projects and utilize time management skills in order to meet goal objectives . This is important in developing leadership skills, collaborating with others, and so much more!
They also get practical experience working on their interpersonal communication skills. They will exercise their public speaking skills, awareness of nonverbal communication, and active listening skills. They are expected to present information to their groups and the team lead teacher. The students must also initiate communication to the organizations they selected to support. They typically do this by calling, or writing a letter/email. Each group develops and presents their project to the entire school. They provide background on why they decided to support the organization they chose, the collective goal, how they raised funds for the cause, and their experience giving back to the community.
Service learning has assisted students in career exploration. Some of our students have realized that there are jobs out there that align with their passion. For example, one of our students wanted to become a veterinarian. After taking a service learning trip to an animal shelter for which the students had decided to raise funds and take over food, bedding, and toys, she realized there were other job opportunities where she could help animals and without seeing them “hurt”. She thought about how great it would be to have a career that took care of “homeless animals” until they found a “forever home”. Our students at Lexis felt extremely passionate about their projects and each have their own perspectives on what they learned, how they felt giving back to the community, and how they think the people they helped felt.
“For service learning, our group focused on helping people who are experiencing homelessness. We contacted an organization called “A New Leaf”. They assist many families in the area who need assistance with not only finding a home, but by helping people find jobs, get clothing, food, water, personal hygiene items, child care for children, and so much more. I thought it was fun and nice to help out a cause. In order to raise money to buy new items to donate, we organized a car wash in our schools parking lot. The students and teachers in my group cleaned so many cars and raised about $200.This project was important to me because it really made me appreciate people that are less fortunate. This experience made me feel good and made me appreciate everything I have. Helping others is a nice feeling to give yourself.”
-Lexis Prep Freshman Student