Act and Reflect

(Reflection provided by the “Scrub Club” Service Learning Group)

Youth Service America (YSA) recommends a full procedure for the planning and initiation of a service project, summarized in the acronym IPARD/C. The acronym represents several steps to instigate a sustainable and thoroughly organized project: Investigation (choose an issue, brainstorm ways to help and solve problems), Preparation and Planning (gather a team, create goals), Action (implement plan, document progress), Reflection (reflect on what you’re learning and doing), and Demonstration/Celebration (share outcomes and celebrate success). The theory emphasizes the importance of a clear vision in the Investigation step, providing exercises focused on brainstorming. The organizational backbone of the project begins in the Preparation and Planning step, in which YSA provides a comprehensive outline for achieving the goals created in the the Investigation process. The Act step builds on this careful planning; the planning team, organized in the previous step, carries out logistics, gathers materials, and begins outreach to the media in order to promote the project. YSA also highly suggests documentation in order to maintain the organization and structure established in the Preparation and Planning process. After the action comes reflection; through activities like poems, journals, and collages, YSA encourages the team to think about the impact of the service on themselves and the community.The process is continued with Demonstration and Celebration, in which team members are encouraged to bring the reflection of the previous step out into the open and share the outcome of the project with the greater community with an interactive blog post, presentation, or follow up article aimed to further include the community in the successes or failures of the project.

The information provided by YSA provides an extensive outline for a service project. They strongly emphasize organization and documentation as a way to create a project that is cohesive and successful. As a group, we found that the YSA method relates directly to the concepts behind AMIGOS’s CBIP ; while action and implementation are important parts of the project, AMIGOS emphasizes the fact that it is a process more than it is a “project”. YSA incorporates reflection and sharing into every step of the process, creating an open dialogue between the project leaders (the team) and the community to promote sustainability. In addition, the thorough outline that YSA provides parallels the CAT packet that AMIGOS participants receive during the summer to assess the state of the community and form a plan. The outline provides useful advice and thinking points that could help a participant to maintain focus and structure in their summer.

We found that the article provided a comprehensive sketch of a service project; at times, the amount of different brainstorming and reflection involved seemed slightly overwhelming and too time consuming. However the outline provided helpful perspectives on the different types of project that could benefit a community, suggesting that the team consider whether the issue could be addressed through awareness (community education), service (direct action), advocacy (promoting solution and speaking up for change), and philanthropy (fundraising). In the context of our service learning project and our CBIPs, we found this to be a helpful starting place and something important to determine.

There were two main things our group liked about the article. One was its thoroughness, so the task of creating a service project did not seem too daunting. The other was its focus on being passionate about the issue our project is on. Both of these things will be very important in our summer with AMIGOS. First of all, organization and planning is extremely important. It is imperative to organize our ideas and actions during our CBIP, otherwise difficult problems and conflicts may arise. There are other important times during the summer where creating a thorough and clear guide is an integral part, for example: planning campamentos. Passion about your project is also crucial for your CBI. If you do not show interest in your project, or cannot get your community to support and stand by it, then many more problems can come around. It is important to care and be interested in your CBI, or find a way to relate with it so you can learn to care about it. We all agree that learning to implement our ideas and our process into the CBIP is imperative to have a successful summer. We appreciated how this article provided a full comprehensive sketch of our service project, and we hope that we are all able to do this during our summer.

(Reflection based on YOUth Changing the World: A Service Learning Toolkit, created by YSA)

Investigate, Prepare and Plan

This reflection brought to you by the “Kraft Krew” Service Learning Group

Youth: Changing the World is a guide to completing service projects. It describes that the first step to starting a service project is to identify an issue that you have observed in your community and brainstorm ideas to address the issue. When addressing what a community needs, it is important to identify what is connected to the issue to approach the issue with a narrower focus. The next step is to gather a team to help you implement your project and set up a plan that includes goals and a timeline. Identifying personal and community assets can help you find more specific ways to address the need and allow you to find additional methods for executing the project. Then, you can follow up with implementing the project and, after the project is complete, reflect on what you learned and how you affected your community. The last step to completing a service project is to share your outcomes with others and make plans to continue the project in the future.

Important aspects of your project include a project plan and project goals by which you can measure your success. Think about whether or not you will need extra help with your project, and if so, what kinds of people would help you and what the best way to recruit those people is. You will need to keep these volunteers informed and encouraged. Another aspect of your project is fundraising. Create a budget and figure out how you will raise the amount of money you need, whether it be by donations, events, or activities.

Part of sharing your project with others is outreach. Inform people about your project through social media and even by reaching out to public officials, such as school board or city council members. Photos and videos can promote your project and share its results, as well as help to track your progress.

Carry out your project plan once you have ensured that you have the volunteers, materials, funds, and other logistics of your project sorted out. Evaluate your project by comparing the end result with what you started with. Reflect on the impact your project had on yourself as well as on the community.  Think about what you have learned and accomplished, and celebrate and share this with others.

We like this guide because it is extremely forward and easy to understand. By having an order of steps to follow, it makes the process simple to follow. Each step gives details and gets you thinking about your surroundings. We find this motivational because it helps to inspire change in your community, both in and out of country. At the end of the guide it asks what you have learned and accomplished from your project. We liked this because it shows that we will gain something from this project, which is something to be excited for. The guide has a great amount of places to fill things out, keeping us involved in the process.

(Reflection based on YOUth Changing the World: A Service Learning Toolkit, created by YSA)

Making New Amigos

Hi fellow amigos! For service learning, our group spends time with foster kids and kids from broken homes (living with extended family or family friends) in Concord. We support them in completing their homework and play educational games with them after their work is done. In the picture alongside the three amigos is a child that we spend time with named Alli. We have a lot of fun together!

One time, Riley (an amigo not pictured) was working with a girl named Sarah. She was building a car made out of plastic that would run on the exhalation of a balloon. Although only the two of them started on the project, by the end of the session, all of the volunteers and kids were rooting them on to get the car to move. And when it did move, everyone erupted into cheers. It was a lot of fun!

We love doing our service learning at this after school program! It allows for us to be a good resource for the kids with their homework while also having a blast with them just playing games. We are super excited to have spent some time with some awesome kids and can’t wait to do it some more this summer!

-Grace Roberts, Mary Holbrook, Rachel Cooperman and Riley Brant

Rounds and Rounds of Duck, Duck, Goose

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

4:30-6:30, 2 hours of service learning

We’re Megan Ogburn and Caroline Liebman and we did our service learning project through the East Bay Chapter of AMIGOS at the Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary School in Berkeley, CA.  We came up with this idea while brainstorming because Caroline knows one of the people in charge of the after-school program.  Caroline learned Spanish when she was in kindergarten by spending time with her after school teacher, Dr. Linda Roach, who works at BAM now. Dr. Roach loved the idea of us coming to work with her and helping out. In total we will have spent 10 hours there, spending time with the kids.

Every other week or so we meet after school on Wednesdays at the school and stay until 6 playing with the kids in the after-school program.  After seeing how the program worked, we set out to bond with the kids by talking to them and playing with them.  At times it could he challenging to keep the kids’ attention, but the more time we spent with them the more they began to listen so the more fun we could have!  One activity they all adored was Duck Duck Goose. Who doesn’t like Duck Duck Goose?! But we decided to put a twist on the game by having a new topic ever couple of rounds. Instead of saying ducks and gooses, we would come up with new words to use.  The first topic we started with was “Being healthy” and rounds went something like this: doctor, doctor, doctor, doctor…nurse! or carrot, carrot, carrot, carrot, broccoli!  Next we tried “Jobs,” “Foods” and “Colors”.  Things started taking a turn for the funny when we suggested “Pieces of Clothing.”  At first we were fine with things like shorts, shorts, shorts…pants! but then Omar tried hat, hat, hat…underwear!  And everything dissolved in giggles.  We all remember how funny it was when someone said underwear… Not long after underwear we were into poopies and peeps and no one was really paying attention to the game any longer.  Time for another game!  Let’s do some dancing and get that energy out!

We felt like this would be a great place to do our service learning, because we wanted to get some hands on experience with kids!  It was so much fun getting to know them and seeing their excitement when we came back to play with them again.  We gained experience not only with the kids, but through reaching out to Dr. Roach (as we will this summer with teachers, mayors, doctors…) and by working with each other.  We actually went to Pre School together, but hadn’t seen each other since then.  Our service learning project provided us with a great way to get to know each other again, just as we will with our partners this summer.  All and all we feel like this experience will be beneficial towards our upcoming summers. There’s no better experience than a hands-on experience!

Note for this summer: goose in Spanish?

-Caroline Liebman and Megan Ogburn