Service Learning to Service Doing: Activating Teen Do-Gooders

For those unfamiliar, Activate Good’s Activate Schools program is designed to empower the next generation of community leaders and volunteers through a Leadership and Service service-learning curriculum. We partner with area high schools to implement this curriculum and give students access to in-depth learning about community issues and how they can be a part of solving them. As part of the curriculum, students are asked to study community issues then develop an idea for a service project that would address one of the issues they are most passionate about. Students form groups to develop their service project ideas, then present them to community members, who act as judges, scoring each project idea. The top scoring project idea wins a cash award from Activate Good, which they use to carry out their project with the rest of their classmates. Finding Passion Through Service Learning Recently, I joined other community members in judging service project ideas from students in our Leadership and Service curriculum at the Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy. My new role as the Activate Schools Program Coordinator has allowed me to spend a considerable amount of time immersed in Activate Good’s Leadership and Service curriculum. It has also caused me to imagine what it would have been like for me to go through this course as a high school student. It’s really when I listened to these students’ ideas for making a difference in our community that the elements of the Leadership and Service curriculum came to life. In every group’s presentation, I could identify an “ah ha” moment, the moment students in that group awakened to their...

Serving Up Spring pop-up brunch on March 30 will fuel service learning for 6 classrooms

When I was in high school, I had an itch I couldn’t quite scratch. Inside there was a fire burning, a voice urging me to go out and make a big difference, but I lacked a deeper understanding of the issues in my community. And, I lacked guidance on how to tackle those issues. Ever ask yourself what you’d change about your high school experience if you had the chance? If there had been a service learning elective at my school that would enable me to study important community issues in-depth, identify causes to engage with, and help me hone my personal leadership skills, I would have jumped at the chance to enroll. As it happened, I had neither the opportunity nor the awareness to start learning these things until after high school. I can only imagine how my life would be different if I’d had that chance, if I’d learned these vital things as a teenager; if I’d have gotten involved earlier and made progress on more issues that are important to me. Through Activate Good‘s Activate Schools program, I now have a chance to give other students — other teens with fires in their bellies — the opportunity and guidance to learn these things, to start putting their passion and energy into something they’ll be extremely proud of. A lot of the time, these are kids that wouldn’t be given the opportunity to lead or told they have any kind of power to make a difference. Showing kids they CAN lead and CAN make an impact is life-changing. It was for me. Throughout the Leadership & Service curriculum...

TRiO Day highlights volunteerism as part of path to higher education

In addition to making an impact on the community, volunteering is increasingly recognized as a mechanism to boost access to leadership and education opportunities for youth. That’s one message of TRiO Day, a “national day of celebration, reflection, and action around increased access to higher education for disadvantaged students.” In Raleigh, NC State University is leading the TRiO Day charge. On Saturday, February 23, students from low-income families aiming to be the first in their families to graduate from college will gather to learn, lead, and volunteer. For these students, volunteer service is a natural part of their path to success. According to Sarah Wright, Student Support Services TRiO Program coordinator, “the purpose of [TRiO Day] is to bring attention to the needs of under resourced youth and adults aspiring to improve their lives, and the investment that is needed by our community to assist them in making their aspirations of higher education a reality.” At NC State University, TRiO students and staff will be engaging in three different service projects: Creating positive letters/cards to be sent to military families, sorting and packaging clothes with Note In The Pocket to be distributed to needy children in our region, and providing college-readiness advice and encouragement to the families of NCSU staff and the program target school communities. Activate Good President Amber Smith will be talking to students about the importance of volunteer service, service-related scholarships, and how to continue service throughout and beyond college. “Volunteerism isn’t just about service. It’s also about taking initiative to solve community problems, and leadership. We’re excited to participate in an event that highlights volunteerism as an...
Activating Schools: WYWLA girls serve and lead

Activating Schools: WYWLA girls serve and lead

Activate Schools is the educational program created by Activate Good to connect community and leadership to the classroom.  Within the Activate Schools program the Community Leadership & Service course teaches high school students about current issues and presents them with opportunities to get involved at a local level.  The comprehensive curriculum was designed to engage youth through a project-based learning approach.  The lessons provide real-world scenarios and are linked to the common core learning standards for high school students.  The Activate Schools Community Leadership & Service course has been successfully implemented as an elective in local area high schools including Broughton, East Wake and the North Carolina School of Science and Math.  For the 2012 – 2013 academic year all freshmen at the new Wake Young Women’s and Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academies are currently enrolled in the course.  These academies are based on leadership models that encourage each student to make a positive impact in their community.  A natural partnership formed between Activate Schools and the Wake Leadership Academies based on mutual goals to empower youth and foster leadership development. The Activate Schools curriculum guides students to explore the root causes behind social issues and conduct assessments of community needs on both a global and local level.  Students learn to recognize their own leadership styles and to strengthen their critical thinking skills.  The course is designed in a way that enables the students to communicate with community partners, identify causes they connect with and propose a viable solution to current issues.  The Service Proposal project at the end of the course is a culmination of all topics covered...
The Teacher I Always Wanted To Be

The Teacher I Always Wanted To Be

By James Jolley, teacher Activate Good’s Community Leadership & Service class  I became a teacher to do some good. My goal was to create an atmosphere that inspired and equipped students to make a better life for themselves, but it wasn’t until I partnered with Activate Good that I realized that I could activate a similar passion to do good within my students.   I had the pleasure of piloting the course, “Community Leadership and Service” at East Wake School of Integrated Technology in Wendell, NC. My class of 27 students explored both the exhilarating and challenging moments that go along with working to improve the community. Individually, students served in soup kitchens, tutored elementary school students, participated in blood drives, and registered fellow students to vote, and as a class, students designed and implemented a project during which they mentored 5th graders about how to make good decisions as they head into middle school. It was beautiful to watch my students develop into confident leaders with a clear sense that they can change things for the better. Here are some of the quotes from students throughout the class: • Janetta – “This class gave us a chance to take what we learned and put it into our real life. Unlike math or science, when we learn in this class we can go out the next day and actually accomplish this.” • Rose – “In the future, I will be more optimistic and open towards community service. I know that I can change things if they need to be changed.” • Justin – “This class helped us learn life...