Children, Inc., the Jefferson Award Foundation, and Cincinnati area sponsors recognized 33 K-12 schools as Schools of Contribution for their civic contributions during the 2015-2016 school year. Each school received this recognition for their ongoing success in implementing Service Learning into the classroom and community. Because of these schools, not only is the community being positively impacted, but the students are practicing compassion and developing a deeper understanding for how to use their skills to make a difference in the world.
Reflecting upon elements of a successful service learning experience, St. Philip teacher Jennifer Twehues says, “A successful Service Learning project starts and ends with the students. Projects must be student driven and student centered in order to be successful. This influences our students’ daily lives and gives them a voice in a better society. students take away a life skill that encompasses compassion and gratitude.”
Students and teachers are partnering with social service agencies, civic organizations, businesses, and others to investigate and respond to needs in their own community. Sharing their expertise and often being the recipients of students services, community partners are essential to the success of service learning experiences. New Hope Food Pantry is one of many reoccurring community agency partners impacted by students throughout this region. Ms. Twehues describes her school’s experiences with community partners as “fulfilling, rewarding, and gratifying”.