3 Ways to Start A Service Learning Project

March 7th, 2016

A service learning project is one of the best ways your classroom can give back to your community – something Inter-State Studio believes in strongly. In fact, it’s the reason we launched our Spreading Smiles contest in 2013. We’ve received hundreds of entries since then from every part of the country, letting us know the future is in good hands wherever you go. It’s not too late to get your service learning project entered into the 4th annual Spreading Smiles contest! We’re accepting entries through March 20th.

Just submit your entry here on our website for your chance to win $750 in support of your service learning project.

How do you go about selecting a service learning project? Here are 3 ideas to get you started.

  1. Pick Your Passion – If you pick a food drive, but no one is passionate about that, your service learning project will quickly lose momentum. If your class is passionate about animals, consider volunteering at the local animal shelter. Is protecting the environment a cause that strikes you? Adopt a stretch of highway and organize students to clean up trash. When you choose a project that motivates class members, they’re sure to put more effort into it.

  2. Identify Needs In Your Community – Nothing coming to mind immediately? Look around your community and identify some needs. If your school has low reading scores, older classes could read to kindergarten/1st-grade students. Ask your local employment service agencies what can be done to reach the unemployed, in order to help raise the median income level in your area. Get creative and find new ways to support your community!
  3. Choose Something Personal – Is there something one of your class members is experiencing that could be the start of your service learning project? For example, if a classmate is dealing with cancer, perhaps seeing what students could do or make for children dealing with that disease would help them connect with a worthwhile cause.

Our winner last year came from Castle North Middle School in Newburgh, Indiana. The 6th grade students completed a service learning project and donated 260 bears to children, in conjunction with the Warrick County Fraternal Order of Police and 4 other local organizations.  The students raised funds, wrote stories teaching good character, and built bears that were designed to teach good character and bring joy to children.  The CNMS 6th grade class partnered with the Warrick County FOP to help with their annual Christmas Party for selected children in their area. In addition, the students partnered with Ronald McDonald House, WCSC Preschool, and Warrick Co. Head Start to brighten the season for the children they serve.

We can’t wait to see the entries that come in this year! Submit yours now and tell us how you’ll improve your community with your service learning project. Remember, entries are due by March 20th. Once voting is complete, we’ll announce the first, second, and third place entries on April 14th. Good luck to all!