FSCJ Service Learning

FSCJ Service Learning


[MUSIC PLAYING] It was an amazingly great
experience– one of the best. And I wish I could do it again. You may have heard about
service learning here at FSCJ. It’s even part of
our college mission to be the community’s college. But what exactly is it? And how is service learning
different from volunteering? By definition, service learning
is a teaching and learning method that combines
meaningful community service with academic goals,
critical reflection, and civic responsibility. Here at FSCJ, that means service
learning is part of a class you are taking for credit. What that really means,
though, is a chance to get involved with
a community group or issue and help the people
or animals that need your help. Along the way, you’ll brush
up on your academic skills, gain a sense of pride,
and feel good, too. They were so happy. I don’t even know if it
was so much for the meal, but for the fact that
there was somebody there, there was somebody
that was caring, and there was somebody that
was willing to spend their time to give something back to them. Which is really what
made me feel great, but it’s better that
they feel appreciated. It’s just being there
for them, helping them without expecting money. Just doing it because
it comes from my heart. But how do you tell the
difference between service learning and volunteer work? You can volunteer for pretty
much anything you want to do and anywhere you want to go. You decide where and when. And when you’re done
volunteering, that’s it. You’re done. Service learning on the other
hand, whether it’s required or for extra credit, must
relate to your class. Your service learning experience
is a way for your professor to help you connect what
you’re learning in class with a community need or issue. You’ll have a reflection
activity or assignment due afterward. Still not sure which is which? Here are a few examples. Pulling weeds in a friend’s
garden isn’t service learning, but working in a community
garden planting vegetables to promote access
to healthy food is. Babysitting for a buddy? No. Tutoring kids in an
after-school program? Yes. Mowing a neighbor’s lawn? Nope. Helping to renovate a
community center for veterans? Absolutely. Get it? The people you help
aren’t the only ones who benefit from service
learning, though. Service learning
gives you the chance to get out there
in the community and actually use what
you’re learning in class. It’s a chance to explore
different career paths and develop some of the skills
you’ll need in those careers. It might even be a foot
in the door for a job. With my overall
educational goals, wanting to go into
elder care, it really helped to bring that together. Like, oh, OK, this is
something that I want to do. This is something that I
want to move forward with. And to get that
feeling over again, throughout my college career
and my professional career afterwards, it’s
pretty priceless. Want proof? A study done in 2015 at
the University of Georgia found that college graduates who
did service learning had higher starting salaries and got
pay raises faster than those who had never been involved. Last year at FSCJ,
more than 700 students took part in service learning. And those 700
students contributed just shy of 7,000 hours to
local nonprofit and community agencies. And time is money. If you estimate, like the
Independent Sector did, that one hour of volunteer
time is worth $24.69, then last year, FSCJ students
contributed the equivalent of almost $200,000 for bettering
the Jacksonville community. It’s not all just lending
a helping hand, though. This is class work. And you guessed it– that means there’s
paperwork to fill out. The first thing you’ll
need is called the Ethics and Commitments form. You need to sign this and
turn it into your professor before you head out
for your service. If you’re under 18 or a
dual-enrollment student, your parent or guardian
will need to sign as well. The next form is
a tracking form. Use it to keep track
of your service hours. Make sure you fill
in all the blanks and get your required signatures
while you’re out working. The third piece of the puzzle
is your reflection activity or assignment. The reflection is the
official learning part of service learning. Details of this will be
up to your professor, so check your
syllabus or assignment for what you need to do and
when it needs to be turned in. So if service learning is part
of your class this semester, are you ready to get
out there now and help? The FSCJ Center for
Civic Engagement can help you find a community
organization, event, or issue to help with. You can also find
us on Facebook. Now, get out there, have
fun, and make a difference. It helps you stay
active socially, and it builds the community. You’ve got to do things
locally before anything can be done globally. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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