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Serving My Community

As we dive toward the end of October, we are beginning to focus on service and volunteerism; and what a better way to learn about this topic than to engage in our own AYTEF service project!

The students and I first had to explore what service means and how everyday volunteers engage in service. We conducted long group discussions about the children's experiences with the word service and volunteer to tap into their prior knowledge. Using this knowledge, we watched a fun but applicable example of service in one of our favorite Disney movies, Up.

Understanding that service is the simple act of helping a person or a group of people out, usually without any expectation of an exchange in return, helped the students to grasp the concept that service makes us feel good, and that emotion in and of itself is the reason why we volunteer in service opportunities. Evidently, since the students are still young, we must think about the reasons why anyone would participate in service if we are not receiving any tangible object or reward in return. To comprehend the rationale behind service, we watched this short video which allowed them to resonate with, as "students" and "young people" were mentioned as one of the few groups that participate in service.

Through what we have learned, the students brainstormed ways to participate in service as well as the service opportunities they have already done.

To engage the students in a mini-service project, we highlighted our AYTEF staff and the hard work they put into our organization to ensure that the students receive quality training and academic enrichment. To show our appreciation while also practicing service, the children wrote thank you cards for our coaches, as well as our academic assistant, Mrs. Michelle. Although they were unaware that their creation was a product of service, they loved writing those thank you cards. The students were so engaged and excited to share the cards with our staff, so much so that I had never seen them so focused and concentrated. This indicated to me that doing something important for others in our community has a special meaning for the students, so while we just learned about this topic, I am sure they already know and have done so much in regards to service.

After our mini-project and the brainstorming sessions we had, the 4-8th graders and I voted on a service project that they would like to engage in. We took their ideas and took a majority vote, which they decided they wanted to create a food pantry. For our younger kids, I decided that they could engage in what the older students chose but also take initiative in creating recycling bins for AYTEF as I have found that we tend to throw away a lot of paper and plastic which would easily get recycled.

The kids have never been so fired up about service, so join us throughout the weeks to see what our brilliant students at AYTEF achieve with their creative minds and dedicated hearts!

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