1. Meet a recognized community need
(e.g. What health, education, environment or public safety need was met? How did you determine there was a real need in this area? Who was helped by your project?)
In 2006 my sister’s graduation project, GAB—Give A Book, was conducted with Frederick County Head Start as one of the recipients. I researched the web site of Frederick County’s Head Start and saw that Head Start “promotes school readiness and success in later life by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of education, health, nutrition, and social services to enrolled children and families.” These families are of low income. I verified with the director of Head Start that there was a need for books. Frederick County Head Start’s classrooms, the enrolled children and the enrolled children’s families were helped by this project. The 202 students enrolled at Wolfsville donated 2350 books which were valued by Head Start as equivalent to $18,800.
2. Achieve curricular objectives through service-learning
(How did the project reinforce or enhance student academic learning?)
I used language arts, social studies, and math skills in the project.
3. Reflect throughout the service-learning experience
(What types of activities did students engage in to reflect on their project?)
Prior to the start of the book drive, I discussed with Anna Clements, my mentor, the progress of the communication between my guidance counselor and the 5th grade peer mentors and the publicity of the project. Each week of the three week book drive, I prepared a spread sheet and graph of the classroom collection results. I weekly discussed the results with my mentor, Anna.
4. Develop student responsibility
(How did students have opportunities to make decisions about the service-learning project and take on leadership?)
The fifth grade peer mentors and I met and formulated a plan to support the project and my efforts and helped make classroom signs, take home flyers, and collection boxes. An incentive award was established. I organized volunteers to help collect the books from each classroom. Each week of the three week book drive, I prepared a spread sheet and graph of the classroom collection results, and posted it in a visible place for an incentive to donate. In addition, I sorted the books based on age group and themes to make distribution easier for Head Start.
5. Establish community partnerships
(With what community partners did you collaborate? Non-profits, civic organizations, businesses that provided donations, etc.)
Head Start was the primary partner. In addition, Frederick Surgical Center became a partner in the effort with staff donating books, as well as boxes to be used for packing of the books. Clements Creations and Woodworking, LLC, also partnered with GAB donating the transportation of the books to Head Start.
6. Plan ahead for service-learning
(How did you prepare and plan for the project?)
I determined the need for the books for young, low income, at-risk children and found a site that needed books, Head Start. I worked with my guidance counselor to schedule the project. I brainstormed incentive award ideas with the goal of collecting lots of books.
7. Equip students with knowledge and skills needed for service (What did students learn through the experience?)
I used math skills during the project. I graphed each of WES classroom’s donations on a weekly basis and on the last week reported the average and median number of books donated.
The project also reinforced organizational skills. Each week I sorted and organized the donated books into categories according to age and topics to ease the distribution process for Head Start. The project also reinforced written communication skills as I was emailing the director of Head Start with my idea, verifying the need, and then updating the director on a weekly basis of the project’s success. In addition the director and I coordinated the date of delivering the book.