Judson high school students put down their ChromeBooks and take to serving the homeless in our community. This year we partnered with St. Vicent De Paul, a mission founded in Paris, France in 1833 by a compassionate college student, Frederic Ozanam, and for over 100 years our Vincentian volunteers has served the suffering in Southern California. The mission helps the needy become self-sufficient by providing financial and emotional support, food, clothing, furniture, appliances, housing and by connecting the disadvantaged to helpful resources in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.
All youth, including those with disabilities can benefit from participation in service-learning.
Service-learning can improve character values and responsible behavior. Students can generalize what they learn from their experiences with service-learning. They learn how to be respectful toward others and toward public property, and they develop awareness of healthy life choices. Finally, they learn about cultural diversity and show more tolerance of ethnical diversity.
Service-learning can improve academic outcomes for students. Students participating in high-quality service-learning experiences that are meaningful (including interaction with the community, valued service activities, and relevance to students), provide time for reflection, and last for an extended period of time have been shown to make academic gains, including gains on standardized tests. In addition, students have shown increased attachment to school, engagement, and motivation.
Service-learning can promote a sense of connectedness to the school and the community. A sense of connectedness includes:
- feeling valued by community members;
- feeling responsible for the welfare of the community;
- having pride in one’s community; and
- a high tendency to take action for the benefit of the community.
Service-learning can promote social-emotional skills. Researchers have found a statistically significant impact of service-learning programs on multiple outcomes, including:
- improved social skills;
- lower levels of problem and delinquent behavior;
- better cooperation skills in the classroom;
- improved psychological well-being; and
- a better ability to set goals and adjust behavior to reach these goals.
Frey found that students who participated in a yearlong service-learning project had lower reports of out-of-school suspension, rule noncompliance, incidents, profanity and obscenity, physical threats and intimidation, and vandalism. Krajewski and Callahan also found that participation in service-learning for high school students with helped improve students’ sense of self-worth.
Service-learning can promote civic participation. Research has shown that high-quality service-learning programs can promote students’ civic knowledge and commitment to continue contributing to their community and to society as a whole.