Why Should You Serve?
Students involved in volunteer, community service and service learning have:
- Improved academic learning skills and improvement in grades
- Increased civic and democratic participation
- Improved critical thinking skills
- Greater understanding of diversity issues
- Improvement in interpersonal skills (includes self discovery)
- Improved degree and career planning
- Improved retention and expedited graduation
- Improved leadership skills
- Greater impact on (ability/interest in solving) social problems
- A gain in valuable work experience
- Improvement in class attendance
- Greater satisfaction with college experience
- Improved relationships with faculty when involved in service-learning
- Ability to apply what students have learned in “the real world”
- Improved sense of social responsibility and citizenship skills
- Improved health
For more information about how you can LEAD * SERVE * LEARN contact the Youth League Committee at (0577) 5587 0122 or visit Youth League Committee at D203, General Education Hall.
Source: National Service Learning Clearinghouse
The Youth League Committee categorizes three (3) basic levels of service.
- VOLUNTEER SERVICE
- Minimal time commitment;
- Limited service with no direct academic component;
- No expectation of monetary compensation;
- Minimal preparation;
- No required educational component
Examples: tabling involving fundraising, donation of goods, donating blood, charity walks etc.
- COMMUNITY SERVICE
- Required time commitment – short term and/or long term
- Educational component included;
- No expectation of monetary compensation or academic credit;
- Reflection required;
- Participant takes part in orientation and preparation for service activity;
- Service focuses on the need of the recipient rather than fulfilling individual or group participant incentives.
Example: Habitat for Humanity; Big Brother/Big Sister; after school tutoring/mentoring etc.
- SERVICE LEARNING
- Long term commitment that has a learning/training component (usually 10-20 hours)
- Service experience is linked with a course for academic credit;
- Service projects are selected to illuminate an aspect of a discipline’s academic theory;
- Learning goals are clearly defined and appropriately assessed;
- Creative and critical structured reflection required.
Example: Service Learning courses listed on KeanWISE
These guidelines will help you have a safer and more effective experience as a volunteer.
Be aware of your environment:
Remember you are a helper, a learner, and/or a visitor. The organization with which you are working has specific ways of interacting and getting things done. Be aware of these particularities and act appropriately. Do not assume you know how to do things or know more than the people who are there everyday.
Follow a work ethic:
Remember your agreement to serve is a commitment to Kean University. You will establish relationships with people from all walks of life. If you are going to be late or are unable to attend please call The Center for Leadership and Service as soon as possible. Consider carefully the reason you might have for missing your commitment. Also, remember all volunteers are required to sign in and out before and after volunteering.
- Dress in appropriately. Wear neat and clean clothing
- Refrain from eating at the table, if you have a beverage please do not place the beverage on the table
- Refrain from cell phone and personal laptop usage unrelated to the tabling activity
- Refrain from any vulgar/inappropriate language
- Refrain from having friends/peers to sit/lean/linger on or near the table
- Be helpful and have a positive attitude
Follow University/agency policies and procedures:
Be familiar with the specifics of your job. Gain a clear understanding of any rules you need to follow.
Understand the need for confidentiality:
Becoming personally involved with the volunteer work is a rewarding experience, but remember you may be dealing with sensitive information that is confidential. If there is any question as to whether you should share information…. DO NOT! Additionally, do not feel pressured to share personal information with peers. When keeping a journal, protect the identify of clients.
Above all, use common sense!
- Don’t leave visible items in your cars’ interior.
- Work in pairs, if possible.
- Stay informed of issues affecting the area in which you serve.
- Do not borrow from or lend money to clients or staff of the agency.
- Do not give out your home address or telephone number.
- Take extra special precautions when going to sites at night.
- Never use alcohol or drugs on site. Please respect the smoking policy of the agency.
- Be sensitive to your own needs and limitations. Maintain an appropriate level of distance from those at the site and don’t counsel clients unless you are trained to do so.
- Don’t expect to know all the answers. It is okay to admit that you don’t know something. If faced with a question you are not familiar with try to get the answers or direct someone to the proper person that can provide an answer.
- Don’t hesitate to report an incident to the supervisor that makes you uncomfortable.
- Be aware of sexual harassment policies and what forms sexual harassment can take. It is unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, either verbal or physical. It refers to behavior which is not welcome, personally offensive, and which debilitates morale.
- The Student Code of Conduct is in effect when representing the University as a volunteer.
All incidents (real or perceived) should be reported to the Youth League Committee by calling 5587 0131.
Source: George Mason University Center for Leadership and Community Engagement