Service Learning Club revealed

By Shealyn Miles
Special Features Editor

Want to know more about the new Service Learning club? Adviser Kelley Macauley and Cati Romano is, what is in store, and how it could be a very important for a student.

1.) How is the service learning club different from any other club at Neshaminy?

Macauley: “The service learning club is different from other clubs at Neshaminy High School because the activities we will be involved with after school will all be focused to benefit others. This club is very similar to Interact in this respect. However, there is a difference between community service and service learning. In service learning, the students take the lead to investigate needs in the community or globally, work together to plan their own project(s), and reflect on the learning experience. The advisors (teachers) are there to help and guide this process rather than tell the students what to do.
With access to kitchens, we can get involved with Aid for Friends and other projects that involve food preparation. We also have several sewing machines, donated fabric and supplies that can be used for a multitude of projects, such as Quilts for Kids.”

Romano: “The service learning club was brought over to Neshaminy High School from The Learning Center when it was closed down. The club is similar to NHS’s interact club, in that the goal is to learn more about our community and how high school students can provide help and support. However the Service Learning club is different because ultimately our role is to guide students on how to find out about needs in their local communities and what they can do to help.”

2.) Why should students join the club?

Macauley: “Students should join this club because it is a way to make a difference, do something nice for others, and while having fun and being social at the same time. Because of its nature, this club attracts really nice and compassionate students. Everyone fits in and I already see a bond forming between the members. It is heartwarming.
Plus, the more students we can get involved, the greater good we can all do and the bigger our projects can become.
Lastly, having service experience is a necessary part of a good college application and a resume.”

Romano: “Students looking to give back to our local community or meet new people should definitely join. I offered to be the advisor because I saw it as a great reason to improve my skills with cooking and sewing. The first project we completed was making centerpiece and desserts for the senior citizen prom. Students will have the opportunity to volunteer at the prom as well. Our primary projects will be Aid for Friends and Quilts for Kids, but there are many other projects that we are looking to help with. For example, there is a Bucks County High School seat belt challenge to promote driver/passenger safety and is interest in hosting an event called “Stop Hunger Now” to help package and distribute meals.”

4.) What projects are you/will you be working on?

Macauley: “The Service Learning Club is new. We have only had two meetings and are working on developing this organization. We have been focusing on assisting with the Senior Citizen Prom. The students made all of the centerpieces for the tables. Students also made desserts. (Cupcakes and pies) Many of the students attended the prom and helped set up.
At our first meeting, the group made a list of some of the things they would like to do. The list was a long one and included supporting needs at the high school, our community, public safety, the environment, etc.
Plus, Ms. Romano and I are contacted by other groups wanting help. For example, there is a Bucks County High School seat belt challenge to promote driver/passenger safety that is a good cause. There is interest in hosting an event called “Stop Hunger Now” to help package and distribute inexpensive meals for the hungry.”

5.) Why do you think it is so important for student to take part in volunteer work?

Macauley: “It is very important for students to become involved in service. It teaches civic responsibility, leadership, teamwork, and selflessness. It is a way for people to creatively collaborate and explore their “group genius” for the good of others. Service is a life skill that helps people appreciate their own circumstances, develop empathy, and grow personally, socially, and ethically. Not to mention, the personal reward from knowing that you helped make someone else’s life better.
There is a debate about whether or not community service should be a requirement in school. If someone is forced into service, is it still meaningful? If someone only does community service to enhance their resume, is this really service?
My thoughts are: As a requirement or for a resume, students are still being exposed to an experience they may not have otherwise and if just a few students become inspired, find a need they are passionate about, and make service part of their lives, we are all ahead of the game.”

Romano: “Learning how you can support your local neighborhood is an easy way to connect people to where they live. I believe that students who learn to volunteer in high school will be more open to volunteering when they are adults and if they stay local they will know where and how to get involved.”