Over the years, our family has made a point to spend our summers engaged in vacations, camps, and light school work to prevent the infamous Summer Slide. As a former overnight Camp Director, I would find the best camps for my children to ensure they walked away with amazing memories and experiences.Three years ago, my husband and I decided to throw away our familiar summer strategy and take on a new adventure. We loaded up our van and created a mini camp of our own! We enlisted the help of our older children to serve as counselors and decided to help create amazing memories for 15 children from under-served neighborhoods. It was at this moment, we decided we would strengthen our own children’s natural gifts and abilities, prevent the summer slide and enrich the community around us using Service Learning.
Service Learning Vs. Community Service?
One day, your family is driving down the street. On the corner, there is a homeless man asking for food. Your child reaches into their backpack, takes out their sandwich, and hands it to the man. That night at dinner, your child asks to collect snacks for homeless people and take them to a homeless shelter. You are delighted to see the compassion and love in your child’s heart and eagerly get started. Before you know it, your family has collected over 500 snacks. You load them in the car, drive to a homeless shelter and your child drops them off. They walk away thrilled and excited that they were able to help someone in need.
Community Service is the act of helping others and can be done at any time and any place. The emphasis is placed on the people being helped and the service that is offered. Community Service is designed to impact or improve the quality of life for those being served.
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