What is Service-Learning? (Adapted from "Learning Through Service")
Adapted from "What is a Citizen and Why Must I Learn to Be One?" pp10-11
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." This is the service-learning mission. As citizens, it should be our goal to improve our nation. Some would say that, since we come from the richest nation in the world, it is our job to be a good example to the rest of the world.
With all the problems facing our communities, from pollution and poverty to corporate fraud and biased judicial system, you could feel helpless. What could you possibly do to change any of it? And while we might care and maybe even donate a few dollars, it is difficult to keep giving. Often, even though we feel bad, we go on with our day. We just do not know how to respond to President Kennedy's challenge.
Yet, most of us have done "good" in our communities at one time or another. We might have served Thanksgiving dinner at a shelter; answered calls at a crisis center; helped to raise money for new playground equipment in the park; taught religious education to kids in churches, synagogues, or mosques; registered voters or gathered signatures for ballot measures; donated blood; picked up litter on the beach; or tutored someone to learn to read. All of these efforts are a part of what makes our communities stronger.