Allen High School located in Allen, Texas, strives to engage its students in meaningful service. In fact, one of the pillars of their graduation profile is to be an engaged citizen. School leaders had the desire to engage their student body in service, but with a student enrollment of over 5,400 students, this seemed like a daunting task. However, by working with other school organizations and connecting with local nonprofit organizations, administrators and students worked together to establish Eagle Give Day - Allen High School's day of service. The program's resounding success resulted in increased student engagement and awareness of local nonprofits and needs.
While students are busy serving in their communities all year long, the holidays months are a great opportunity for students to give of their time and effort to benefit others.
Prior to the pandemic schools and districts had a focus on the emotional development of students ensuring they have personal growth beyond what they learn in textbooks.
However, after the onset of COVID-19 and as students try to heal from the past year and a half, social-emotional learning has become a necessity for schools. Today's students have experienced so many shifts in learning, social interactions, the way they engage in their communities, and more. Social-emotional learning is a mode of healing from the traumas of the past year and a way to grow positively from the massive changes in our world.
"Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It's important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It's the way in which we ourselves grow and develop." - Dorothy Height
Why is social-emotional learning important for a student's future?
Not only is social-emotional growth an important healing element for students, but it's also vital for future success. Colleges look for students that will be a positive addition to their campus - students that have a widened world view and developed self-awareness fit the bill. Aside from college acceptance, this type of personal growth allows a student to be more well-rounded. They will be more successful in all aspects of life including personal relationships, university, workplace, and more.
The core competencies that encompass social-emotional learning are responsible decision making, social awareness, relationship skills, self-awareness, and self-management. There are many volunteering opportunities students can engage in to impact their social-emotional growth:
Are your students on the hunt for service ideas? We've got you covered. Whether your students are doing in person, socially distanced, or virtual service experiences this semester, there are so many opportunities for your students to get involved and make a difference in their communities.
Through these service experiences, students have the opportunity to reflect on their impact, grow as individuals, and heal emotionally from the changes they've experienced over the past year.
Student development outside of academic achievement has become a priority for schools across the country. Educators focus on student outcomes that revolve around social-emotional growth and skills development in addition to academics.
Does your school recognize or require service? Have a work-based learning or internship requirement? Or maybe a Career and Technical Education program? The process to track, manage, and report on, those programs can be time-consuming.
Volunteerism and community service make the world go around on a daily basis. But what better time to serve your local or global community than during summer break! Students can use the time off of school to engage with their communities.
This past year has been a challenging one for all of us. Students, in particular, faced a lot of roadblocks including being isolated and disconnected from peers, classmates, and their community while learning from home.
However, as some schools plan to return to in-person classes this fall and nonprofit organizations begin to offer more in-person volunteer opportunities, students have the chance to get involved this summer. Community service is a great way for students to reconnect and re-engage with others and continue that vital personal development that sets them up for success in the future.
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Christian Service Coordinator, Ogechi Akalegbere, is a service champion at Connelly School of the Holy Child. Her primary goal is to help her students connect to meaningful service experiences and projects throughout the school year. Through service, students learn about themselves and God’s love. Service is also an essential component to teach justice, peace, compassion, and faith to the girls. Sixth through 11th grade are required to complete a variety of service hours anywhere from home, school, church to local nonprofits. Making sure students are involved with direct service is key to the Christian Service Program.
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Student service continues to develop in the ever-changing COVID-19 world. However, 2021 might look a little bit different than 2020. In April 2021, x2VOL surveyed administrators, service leaders, and nonprofit organizations to better understand the impact COVID-19 had on community service in the Spring 2021 semester and what the outlook is for Fall 2021.
This past year students have had to get creative when volunteering and serving in their communities due to COVID-19. Service leaders have modified service programs.