Service Learning Fair Inspires!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

service-learning-fairThis Wednesday, our main amphitheater was transformed into a setting of optimism as a dozen local non-profit organizations assembled to explain their missions to all of our students! Students from Junior Kindergarten through 8th grade were able to “window shop” in an open-house format to hear from the different representatives about the work they do in the community.

If you are unfamiliar with our Service Learning program, we revamped our philosophy towards service a number of years ago after a visit from an educational authority on the topic. Instead of students going to a park and picking up trash for one day, or amassing a certain number of individual service hours off campus, each grade chooses an organization they wish to help for the year. They learn about the organization’s purpose and then decide collectively how best to help them (with their teacher’s guidance and assistance, of course). Many of these projects last for an extended period of time and may involve collection work, creating something, or just donating time to their cause. Most result in a culminating experience such as a field trip or site visit to one of the organization’s locations, to deliver items or help out physically. The kids really get into the spirit of giving to the community and invariably the adults feel our students get as much, or more, out of it than those we help. Here are the groups that were represented at our event on Wednesday:

  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • Center for Women and Families
  • Coalition for the Homeless
  • Apple Patch
  • St. Matthew’s Food Pantry
  • Home of the Innocents
  • Kentucky Refugee Ministries
  • Water Step
  • Family Scholar House
  • Neighborhood House
  • Dare to Care Food Bank
  • Bluegrass Pet Rescue

Thanks are certainly in order to our Service Learning Coordinator, School Librarian Lindsy Serrano, for putting this feel-good event together. From Lindsy:

“I am always excited to help plan this event. Every year at the fair, students are engaged and passionate when learning about community issues, and at the same time we are giving community groups a space to talk about their work. I can’t wait to see what service learning projects the students will develop this year!”

And we couldn’t agree more. It’s always heartwarming to hear the kids at morning meeting describe the work they’ve accomplished and how they feel about it. It’s truly an integral part of the St. Francis community, and no doubt will inspire our kids to continue this type of giving for the rest of their lives.