Monmouth County Private School – Community Service Club
The Voyagers’ Community Service Club seeks to introduce students to the importance and the rewards of participating in community projects to help others and the environment. Students will have the opportunity to decide upon which issues are most important to them as a group and will identify community service projects to benefit those affected.
This class is designed for students to become involved in giving back. After polling the children and discussing what scope of work could be accomplished they chose to investigate the activities of the ASPCA and to create an environment, a bug box, to house helpful insects here at Voyagers’ to benefit the garden. The children also decided to provide a bug box to our partners at the Harbor School, across the street.
The students will:
- learn about the SPCA of Monmouth County in Eatontown.
- survey areas in which we can help the ASPCA as young volunteers.
- Locate found materials for no cost and construct a bug house for our yard and a matching bug house that will be installed at the Harbor School.
For the first two weeks, students began to share their ideas about volunteer service with the group. They used the World Cafe method to identify which of their interests had the strongest appeal to the group as a whole. The two areas that emerged as holding the strongest appeal for the class were nature and animals welfare.
To begin, the students spoke to a representative of the local chapter of the SPCA to better understand how the organization works. The organization was happy to send a visitor; the children were honored to have the CEO speak to them. He was accompanied by a very active volunteer, Chris Nalbandian. The CEO discussed the organization’s mission and their efforts. Then Chris shared his perspective as a volunteer. The class discovered that many of the children had, or knew of someone who had, adopted an animal from the organization. They were very interested and receptive.
The students then decided to explore a volunteer project for the school, which involved nature. They researched several possibilities and decided to build a bug box to improve recreation and nature. They designed two bug boxes, one for the school and the other for the Harbor School. The students felt that children attending Harbor would benefit from the activities they could observe in the box. All materials were donated, recycled or re-purposed, which provided the children with the experience of completing a “zero budget” project, which is often a challenge for not-for-profit organizations. The possibilities of donations and of re-purposing were explored fully and the children were energized.
This Essential provided an exciting and rewarding learning experience. Because of the small class size, and the specific interests of the group, we were able to accomplish some of our goals; the course length was not long enough to accomplish all them. For instance, a food drive for the SPCA and a visit to deliver the food could not be completed on schedule. The students seemed to enjoy their experiences and requested an opportunity to continue. Therefore, we should offer a part two of this course to close out the remainder of the year. The students have benefitted from seeing the volunteer project of their own design and construction come to fruition.
TEACHER: Mari McMahon