Service Learning is a transition gem that is often overlooked as a tool for preparing for adulthood. Service Learning programs can help students develop much of the skills needed to step into life after high school. Service Learning can:
- Foster lifelong learning
- Develop self-confidence
- Contribute to the strengthening of the community
- Develop leadership and team work skills
- Increase academic skills
- Develop the ability to see different perspectives of issues in the community, thereby fostering more compassion and self awareness
- Define career paths which facilities smoother goal-setting
- Develop employment skills
Here are quotes by students who have walked away from their service learning experiences with the “ahas!” that allow them to work towards their future in more meaningful ways:
The academics during my service learning experience were quite intense, more intense than schooling on an average basis. Because I was out of my normal context and thinking process, the academics weren’t as hard even though it seemed otherwise. I didn’t ask why, I didn’t think twice, and I strived to just be good at the assignment. I realized that this is all I have to do anywhere to achieve exceptional success academically. This idea stuck with me and now schooling is something else other than a legal obligation, it’s an opportunity and privilege along with anything else offered in life.
~ 11th grade student with learning disabilities. Pre-service learning was not interested in school or any type of post secondary education. Post service-learning is attending community college.
Through my service learning project, I am helping the children learn how to communicate properly with the goal to help prevent cyber bullying. The experience reinforced what we need to teach children. What we need to teach children is how to work together and to respect each other. What I have learned though is that it is important to keep and grow new social connections because you always need help from other people.
~ 12th grade student with autism. Pre-service learning was introverted, anxious, confused about the future. Post service learning is attending college to pursue a career in the medical field.