A Letter Asking for Service Based Learning in Oregon Schools (by Christina Jones)

tina.jones1-20141010_193913Introduction:

My research question for this project was, “Does service learning help people become more compassionate about the homeless?” and my research collection strongly supports that it does. Through my research I discovered many service based learning projects in schools that support homeless awareness and advocacy. My own experience with our community based learning project in this class was overwhelmingly positive. By working with my daughter to create care packages for people in need, we not only developed an awareness and compassion for others that I didn’t anticipate, but we grew closer as well.

I chose to use this information in an attempt to bring some change to our own schools, by writing a letter to the Oregon Board of Education. Considering my research on the subject shows that service learning is beneficial to the student and the community combined with my own personal experience with a child of school age, I believe my letter is well informed and stands a good chance of being taken seriously. As proof that it was sent, I’ve copied the instructor of our class in the email.

Thematic Research Collection

Larsen, Kate, and Katherine Hafner. “”Night Without Shelter” Aims for Homelessness Awareness.” NBC Southern California. N.p., 16 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Night-Without-Shelter-Aims-to-Teach-Young-People-About-Homelessness-282834541.html.  This article talks about the Midnight Mission, an organization that takes students to the streets to experience what it’s like to be homeless. This is an authoritative source as it is a published news article.

This is an important article in that it shows an actual service learning project in action. Students spend the night out of doors to recreate the experience of being homeless. While not allowed to use tents or sleeping bags, they are encouraged to use cell phones to “live-tweet” the event and raise awareness among their peers.

“College Students Learn by Making Meals for Homeless.” The Daily Journal. Associated Press, 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2014. http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/college-students-learn-by-making-meals-for-homeless/article_277d8371-86bb-581e-b2d2-c74cee7642bc.html. This article is about how a culinary arts teacher has his students prepare meals for the homeless. This is an authoritative source as it is a published news article. It is relative to my project as it involves a service learning project that has been experiencing success. Culinary Students are making meals to be delivered to homeless shelters. Not only are they learning cooking skills – the ability to create a large number of meals, but they are learning what it means to give back to the community. Student feedback has been very positive, and the pantry that receives the meals couldn’t be happier!

Brown, Jonathan D et al. “Service Learning To Impact Homelessness: The Result Of Academic And Community Collaboration.” Public Health Reports121.3 (2006): 343–348. Print. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1525292/This is the scholarly article I intend to use (I found two but eliminated one for the collection). It’s authoritative in that it’s published in the US National Library on medicine. It talks about my research question exactly – how service based learning affects the students (and subjects) involved. This paper is what I aspire to – it gives an example of service learning, talks about initial student and teacher response to the process, and draws conclusions from those responses as well as the overall effect of the course.   It’s well informed and expertly written. It comes to the same conclusion that I did in my personal community-based project – that service learning is successful in creating awareness and compassion.

The Public Writing

Ron Dodge

Education Specialist, Business & Management

Oregon Department of Education

ron.dodge@state.or.us

255 Capitol St. NE

Salem, OR 97310

Dear Mr. Dodge:

I am writing to you to hopefully raise awareness of a subject that appears to be lacking in Oregon schools – that of compassion and advocacy for the homeless.

There are thousands of homeless people in our state, and a large percentage of them are children. I chose this area of need as a community based learning project for a college course that I’m taking. My project revolved around creating care packages for the homeless, with the aid of my daughter Alice. A very pleasant thing that I learned through this work, very quickly, was how compassionate children can be, and how readily they are willing to help others. Working on this project with her solidified her own empathy and I fully believe that this will stay with her in the years to come.

Not only has my own experience shown that service based learning has an incredible effect on those involved, it’s working in other states as well. The Midnight Mission, an organization in Southern California takes students to the streets to experience what it’s like to be homeless. The spend the night outside, and while not allowed to use tents or sleeping bags, they are encouraged to use cell phones to “live-tweet” the event and raise awareness among their peers. Joliet Junior College in Illinois has culinary students making meals to be delivered to homeless shelters. Not only are they learning cooking skills – the ability to create a large number of meals, but they are learning what it means to give back to the community. Student feedback has been very positive, and the pantry that receives the meals couldn’t be happier!

I would love to see a similar project take shape in Oregon schools. Perhaps a term spent studying what advocacy means and how to make a difference as part of the middle school Social Sciences Curriculum. Teaching students the real meaning of compassion by seeing and recognizing a need, and allowing them to come up with ways to help will go a long way in nurturing and growing compassionate adults.

I thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Christina Jones

Advertisements

One comment

  1. Elektra Flint

    The importance of service learning is a critical subject, and is great that many Americans are now focusing in educating their children about the importance of helping the less fortunate.Christina Jones has done an amazing research, and has been involved in this cause for some time now according to her information. Needless to say there is a lot of ground to cover when it comes to this subject. By reading her information we find that college students are giving help by preparing meals, and we also, learned how a Culinary Arts teacher is also teaching students to make meals for homeless. Another miracle in the works is, “Night Without a Shelter” this organization as Christine stated, is working diligently with students to teach them the experience or helping homeless, and it is during this process that we discover that the compassion of a young person can mend millions of broken hearts.Christine’s letter to the School Board is impressive, and we expect it creates a great impact, and increase the help homeless need, especially in times of danger like winter time.In conclusion, the entire blog is full of information and research, and the letter adds a great closure to the topic. Excellent work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: