As Spring Break approaches, now is a great time for students to start brainstorming how to fulfill their volunteer hours during the break. This is a perfect opportunity for students to use the time off from school to engage with their communities.
There has been a significant loss of learning and development due to the pandemic. However, as the world emerges from the pandemic and students are able to return to a more typical education experience, there is a great opportunity for educators to help motivate students and re-engage students in service.
As students heal from the impact of the pandemic and get settled in their new normal, it can be a challenge for them to feel the motivation to participate in extracurriculars and service.
There’s no doubt that the past two years have taken a toll on students.
There has been a significant loss of learning, development, and personal growth. Students have experienced isolation from a myriad of social situations. Many students even began high school during the pandemic and didn't return to campus well into their high school careers.
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Topics: service reflections, service hour tracking, college prep, how to engage students in service, career readiness, service learning, community service ideas, social emotional learning, community service tracking form, student service, student outcomes
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
Learn More: What is Social-Emotional Learning?
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:
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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Service has never been more important! Schools continue to modify and adapt their service program to account for the changes COVID-19 has brought to the education system. But one thing that hasn't changed, is students' drive to serve others and impact the world around them.
During COVID-19, volunteerism and serving others around you has never been so important. Even though, students across the country are spending their time indoors and practicing social distancing, they are getting creative with ways to continue to serve others who are in need during this pandemic.
There are a lot of service opportunities to take advantage of in your community and beyond. But for today's technology and online driven students, taking service online can be a great option.