As some of you, blog readers, may know, I attend a service learning-based high schoolâ€¦.a school dedicated to volunteering and community outreach. We have a weekly service learning program which puts every student out into the community to volunteer. While we have made a tremendous impact locally, the work of Quest Early College High School students reaches beyond even international borders.
Several years ago, Questâ€™s Assistant Principal and current REEP student, Ginger Noyes, traveled to La Finca de Los NiÃ±os, an orphanage in the mountains of Honduras. At the orphanage she discovered the welcoming arms and loving hugs of excited children. Beyond the happy faces of the children was a situation of dire need, however, as Noyes quickly learned that the orphanage lacked sufficient and stable food and clothing for its orphans. Seeking to provide for the children, Noyes reached out to a large group of passionate individuals whom she knew would be happy to help: the students at Quest.
For at least the past four years, the students at Quest have been instrumental in raising funds for the children at La Finca de Los NiÃ±os, and projects and donations have included everything from food to school supplies. The connection between the students at Quest and the children at La Finca de Los NiÃ±os is special because all donations and funds collected by the students are personally delivered on a yearly basis by Noyes. Several Quest students have even accompanied Noyes to Honduras to assist with the delivery and distribution of supplies to the orphanage.
Additionally, this on-going service learning project has enabled students to make meaningful connections between what they are learning in school and what is happening in the world today. Last year, Questâ€™s Spanish classes wrote Christmas cards to their friends in Honduras as a project, a project that meant more than a grade. It is this type of connection and sense beyond grades which truly engages my fellow Quest students and me. It is this type of connection and learning which I feel truly engages all people!
For teachers seeking to bring service learning to their own classrooms, what do you think about using Noyesâ€™ project as a model? Or, for teachers seeking service learning on a smaller scale, why not write holiday greeting cards as the Quest students did, but instead distribute them to local retirement communities or hospitals? To the students reading this blog: do you feel like you might be engaged by service learning? And finally, to all readers, what do you think about the global service-learning being done at Quest? Leave a comments and share your thoughts with us.