Guest Author - Lisa Savarese
How can you get girls involved in the community? How can you enhance their learning with hands-on, meaningful activities? Service learning is the answer and such a powerful educational tool for children of all ages. It is how "just a kid" can accomplish amazing things, which in turn, builds their self- esteem, leadership skills and organizational skills. Girls start to realize how good they feel making positive changes in a world that they will inherit. Service learning is starting to become more popular in schools and some colleges even require it to graduate. Colleges and Universities are looking beyond grades and service learning experience on an application is sure to catch their eye. Here are steps you can follow to make your service project triumphant.
1)Once you come up with what type of project you want to work on, make sure to research it. Find out things such as how it will benefit people and if you have the time and money to see it through to the end.
2)Put together your team of helpers if the project is very involved. Look for people who share the same interest and you can count on to stay with you until it is finished. Look to family, friends, your school, neighborhood and community for team members. It is a good idea to not to limit age because someone older or younger may be able to offer different perspectives.
3)Find a sponsor or be a sponsor. A responsible adult will give credibility to other adults or help with getting permission for various things.
4)The plan comes next. Define your goal and is it achievable. Decide where and what time to meet and a schedule of how much time you can dedicate to working on the project. Establish costs and make a list of materials if needed. If the plan is not realistic, revise or come up with another idea.
5)I know this may sound odd, but make sure your recipient really wants the help. Talk to them. Their needs may be different from what you think.
6)Is there a specific place you will perform the service? Visit the location and decide if you need to supply anything.
7)Try to get any permission you need. Consider facility owners, organizations or school district personnel. Publicize so that others know about it. Press releases, public service announcements and flyers are just some of the ways to advertise.
8)Fundraise if needed.
9)Reflect and evaluate the finished project. Think of all you accomplished. Would you do it again? Would you improve it? What did you learn? Use your reflections to inspire others to do the same.
In all, service learning benefits everyone involved. It brings people together and can breakdown preconceived notions and prejudices. It allows new talents and abilities to develop. Just be sure, when you complete the project, do not forget to celebrate because everyone involved deserves to acknowledge his or her accomplishment and be proud. Are you ready to make a change?