Do you have a dream college in mind? Ever wonder what you can do to make yourself stand out from all the other competitors? Luckily, there’s an easy answer: creating your own service learning group.
Creating a service learning group is a great opportunity to learn and do many great things. “You will develop leadership skills, learn to take risks and learn to support others,” says AISB Service and Action Advisor Margritha Hofman. “You step out and take your learning into your own hands.” She adds that it gives you the opportunity to make new friends, enlightens you about world issues and about life as a non-privileged person. It teaches you to care about other people and in exchange, their happiness makes you feel happy.
Sounds great, right? Well here’s how to start your own group:
- The first step is to go talk to Ms. Hofman and basically tell her about what you are planning on doing. Here are some things she would like you to mention in your chat with her:
- Who will be your teacher supervisor?
- What are your aims, objectives and plans?
- Do you have plans with an outside NGO or group?
You also need to make sure that a similar service learning group doesn’t already exist.
- After discussing your ideas with her, you need to start getting a little bit more serious and sure about your plans. You could start doing things like:
- Asking friends if they would like to help and get involved
- Start writing down precise goals for your group (a good idea would be to have a calendar or schedule on which you could add events).
- Contacting people with which you could coordinate events
For example, if you are planning on having a recurring event, like a weekly bake sale, you would need to plan what exactly you would sell, what to buy, how to finance it, decide who would be in charge of the baking, ask administration about rules and regulations, etc.
- Once your service learning group gets approved and a new school year begins, you have to start organizing your group. Some things you can do in your first sessions are:
- Start narrowing down your goals to specific events, for example:
- Bake sales
- Sports Tournaments
- Art fairs
- Social Events (dances/balls)
- Talent Shows
- Start a group chat on which team members can double check dates and times, on which group schedules can be shared, etc.
- Once you have specific goals, you can organize them on a calendar. Think about:
- Could the date have to do with a theme?
- Will the date be good for everyone in the group to attend and help?
- Will the people who will not be able to physically attend be able to help with planning?
- Start organizing your events:
- If you are planning to have an event at the gym, email Mr. Hughes (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Ms. Hofman (email@example.com) and cc Mr. Arif (firstname.lastname@example.org) to ask if the gym is available during the times you want to request.
- You should start dividing up your group into different jobs (For example, if you are organizing games in the gym, assign people game stations, determine who will speak before everyone starts playing, etc.).
- And finally, you should remind people to reflect on these events once they are done. In the SA folder on ManageBac, under your group, you should click on “add reflection” and reflect on your role in this event:
- What was your job?
- How much do you think you contributed to this event?
- Do you think this event went as planned? If not, what went wrong?
- What are some things you will keep in mind for your next event?
One thing you can never forget while organizing your service learning is that you can’t get distracted because you are with your friends. “Organizing a group can be very hard, especially when they are your friends, but you have to keep reminding yourself of the reason you are doing this: to help those in need,” says Gunel Akhundova, Student Group Leader of HIV Support at AISB.
This is something important to keep in mind before you even talk to Ms. Hofman, because being a group leader is a big responsibility. But if you are truly dedicated to the cause, all the work will seem like fun, and you’ll be making a difference.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making a difference!