Community projects/Research project

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As one option for their final projects, students work in groups to research, analyze and present on the topic of Community Service Learning.

Spring 2008

..adapted work of students Ricky T and Dennis W


Service learning combines service objectives with learning objectives with the intent that the activity changes both the recipient and the provider of the service. This is accomplished by combining service tasks with structured opportunities that link the task to self-reflection, self-discovery, and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills, and knowledge content.

Service learning is also a way for students to integrate academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service. It is learning in the community coordinated with different levels of education. Students learn more about society and experience by doing community service. It also lets the students know more about the society and how they can help. It is not just charity or volunteering, it is learning how to solve problems or real situations happening in the community.

For example, if students set out to collect trash, they are providing a service to the community as volunteers; a service that is highly valued and important. When students collect trash, analyze what they found and possible sources so they can share the results with residents of the neighborhood along with suggestions for reducing pollution, they are engaging in service learning. In the service learning groups, they are developing an understanding of pollution issues, learning to interpret science issues to the public, and practicing communications skills by speaking to residents. They may also reflect on their personal and career interests in science, the environment, public policy or other related areas. Service-learning combines SERVICE with LEARNING in intentional ways.

"Service-learning can also be organized and offered by community organizations with learning objectives or structured reflection activities for their participants. Whatever the setting is, the core element of service-learning is always the intent that both providers and recipients find the experience beneficial." Service Learning is an experimental education where learning happens through a hands-on experience. Students work with one another to help solve local community problems and environmental issues. They have gained valuable experience and knowledge to better their lives in their future.


  • Campus Compact
    national coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents — representing some 6 million students — dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education.
  • Learn and Serve America
    provides direct and indirect support to K-12 schools, community groups and higher education institutions to facilitate service-learning projects
  • Learning in Deed
    The W.K. Kellogg Foundation helps people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations.
  • Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning (MJCSL)
    provides opportunities for students of University of Michigan to join service learning programs and encourage the learning of service-learning.
  • National Center for Learning and Citizenship
    NCLC provides information about service-learning and citizenship education through publications and on the Web.
  • National Service Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC)
    Learn and Serve America
  • National Service Learning Partnerships
    At the Academy for Educational Development
  • Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE)
    (formerly the Grantmaker Forum on Community & National Service)

Benefits of Service-Learning

Thousands of community-based organizations engage millions of young people in service and service-learning. Though research in K-12 and higher education shows a wide range of benefits of effective service-learning, much less is known about the benefits of service-learning in community-based settings. This fact sheet highlights emerging knowledge.

Benefits for Youth Participants

Youth who participate in high-quality community-based service-learning are likely to benefit in a number of ways:

  • Increased access to the range of supports and opportunities they need to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.
  • Increased sense of self-efficacy, as young people learn that they can impact real social challenges, problems, and needs.
  • Higher academic achievement and interest in furthering their education.
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills, ability to work in teams, and planning abilities.
  • Enhanced civic engagement attitudes, skills and behaviors.
  • Increase their experience on social works so they could know more about the society.

Benefits for Youth Development Organizations

Youth development organizations and after-school programs that use service-learning can benefit from this strategy in a number of ways:

  • Young people are more likely to stay engaged when they feel their participation is meaningful and they can make useful contributions.
  • Service-learning gives an intentional strategy for addressing goals for learning and personal development through civic engagement and community service.
  • Service-learning can cultivate connections between the organization, schools, higher education, and other community groups.
  • Service-learning can increase program staff and volunteers’ level of engagement, leadership capacity, and satisfaction with their work.
  • Service-learning reinforces effective youth development practices, providing young people with, among other things, appropriate structure, supportive relationships, opportunities to belong, positive social norms, opportunities for skill building; and integration of family, school, and community efforts.
  • Service-learning could help the students to cooperate with other people therefore they could know how to do things with other people in the society.

Benefits to Organizations that Utilize Young People as Volunteers

  • Community-based organizations that engage young people in service and service-learning point to the following kinds of benefits:
  • The opportunity to expand their mission and reach without substantially increasing costs by engaging a cadre of competent, motivated young people.
  • New energy, ideas, and enthusiasm as well as specialized skills that young people can bring to the organization.
  • Increased public support and visibility in the community as young people become ambassadors for the agency in their schools, homes, and other networks.
  • New partnerships and resources.
  • A new generation of volunteers for their own organization or cause.

Essentially, if young kids start participating in groups with positive motive, they'll be more civilized and properly educated when they grow up.


Service learning is a way for students to combine academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service. It is learning in the community coordinated with different levels of education. Students learn more about society and experience by doing community service. Students learn more about society and how they could help. It is not just charity or volunteering, it is learning how to solve problems or real situations happening in the society. There are many programs like State Education Agency K-12 Service-Learning Network (SEANet), Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC) are providing service learning projects to students to learn more about society.

Service Learning is effecting communities in many ways. It plays an important role in many college campuses. Students have generated thousands of clubs that pursue their specific goals and interests and filled needs within the community. Many students are involve in community services that help the community and the environment in different ways like planting trees, volunteering in a non-profit organization, or just simply cleaning up the environment. Seeing how these service groups are effecting our communities positively, high schools are now encouraging students to participate by making it as a graduation requirement. Most importantly, service learning brings everyone together to create an organization that has the same mindset and goals to make a difference in our world.

Works Cited