The power of community service

Morris F. White III, County Extension Director, Vance County
Jan. 18, 2014 @ 04:59 PM

On Monday, the country will pause to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday through service to others. This is a great time for our community to participate in service learning projects.

Organizations, clubs, and school and church groups give back to the community by helping the elderly, aiding the less fortunate, beautifying the community, preserving the environment and a host of other good deeds through service learning projects.

Service learning projects are defined by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction as an effective framework for curriculum delivery, a learning tool and a strategy to engage students, parents, volunteers and the community.

Service learning projects have the power to create a more vibrant community when we all work together. Communities thrive when we capitalize on our citizens’ efforts and talents.

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction research has shown that service learning projects help to:

• Foster a sense of care and concern for others

• Positively impacts student outcomes

• Extend the boundaries of classrooms — the community becomes the learning lab

• Provide opportunity for inquiry-based experiential engagement with real-life situations

The vision unites us; service-learning is not limited to just youth. As Dr. King said, "Everyone has the power for greatness — not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”

Any time is the perfect time for you to develop your own service-learning project. The Vance County Cooperative Extension Center, 305 Young Street, Henderson, is a great place to visit if you need assistance in developing a project for your group.

The Center’s 4-H clubs are known for their hands-on projects that benefit Vance County. They have successfully cleaned up litter at Kerr Lake and become stewards of the environment.

For more project ideas you may want to visit the following sites to spark your creativity in designing your own project to make a difference:

Corporation for National and Community Service

N.C. Department of Public Instruction

Journal of Extension

Make a Difference Day

For more information on service learning projects contact the Vance County Cooperative Extension Office at (252) 438-8188.