What is Community Service?
One of the most effective methods of increasing citizenship participation and civic responsibility is through community service. The students can extend what they learn in the classroom and adapt it to serve a community need and the community benefits from the energies of the students in helping out with a specific need that they may need to be addressed. Community service can potentially provide a motivation for learning and prepare students for citizenship. Interactions with the community can be used to foster critical thinking and encourage reflection on personal values. Reflection on service experiences can aid in learning how to deal with both cultural and personal differences.
Canton High School is leading the way in introducing today’s youth to the benefits of community service. The Career/Community Service Department at Canton High School is continually strengthening partnerships with a variety of agencies and charitable organizations so that the program can offer many opportunities for the students. Each year the CSL department provides students with over 70 opportunities and we are looking to increase those opportunities on a yearly basis. It has been our experience that offering students worthwhile opportunities is invaluable teaching tool in helping the students realize the overall benefits of community service. Instead of requiring students just to do 20 hours of CSL, Canton High School puts a lot of thought and effort into providing worthwhile opportunities to extend their learning in to the community. This shows the students that we are all vibrant stakeholders in helping them make a difference in the community and that it is a worthwhile and life long endeavor. By introducing the students to the benefits of community service, we are taking a leadership role in engaging the students to what they will encounter after they leave Canton High School - that community service is a valuable component to ones development and for the benefit of countless others.
The CSL office works in conjunction with the teachers to offer special projects related to their curriculum. Family, friends, relatives and other students are also vital connection as to what is available for the students. Parents are strongly encouraged to be involved in the process. Parental participation is vital to the success of their child’s community service requirement. Parents should talk to their child concerning community service just as they would any other subject. Parents need to offer suggestions and are encouraged to contact us if we can be of any assistance. As stated by James Cash Penny “How can we expect our children to know and experience the joy of giving unless we teach them that the greater pleasure in like lies in the art of giving rather than receiving.”
Whether the goal is academic improvement, personal development, or both, students participating in community service learn critical thinking, communication, teamwork, civic responsibility, public speaking and many other academic related skills.
Lastly, and probably most important, a reflection piece where the students can write (or talk) about their overall experience is of utmost importance. Reflection is a process of mentally looking back on an experience and making meaning of the events. It also increases the understanding that students have of the community around them and how it ties into their school experience.
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