We are striving to incorporate service learning into our culture here at Busch Middle School of Character. While we have always offered volunteer opportunities to our students, most notably our annual Car Wash (which raises money for local charities and nonprofits), we want to move beyond this. Service is learning is different than volunteering because students are involved in the entire process of planning and implementation. There is also a very strong reflection piece which allows students to reflect on a very deep and meaningful level on their experiences completing service. Our ultimate goal is for every single student in our school to participate regularly in service learning.
Currently, here are some of the service learning opportunities we offer to students:
-Composting in the lunchroom
-Picking up trash on our campus
-8th graders mentoring/tutoring 6th graders
-Reading to elementary school students
-Planning service projects, like a canned food drive
-Raising money for various charitable organizations through drives and our car wash
-Making quilts for people in need in Saint Louis
-Writing cards and letters to children in the hospital and military serving overseas
All of these projects are student-driven. Students research and select the causes and organizations they want to support. They plan the fundraising and activities related to their projects, engaging key stakeholders and raising awareness amongst students.