YPF BLOG

Friday
Aug302013

What's In A Name? 

Everything, especially when those names are being misused.  Two articles have come to my attention recently, both supposedly being about service learning.  Unfortunately, a Vice Principal at a high school and the Philanthropy News Digest have failed to distinguish between service learning and community service, making serious claims against service learning as an effective way to create compassionate citizens and leaders in our community capable of thinking on their own, researching root causes of issues, and taking action. 

Both articles maintain that 'service learning' as they call it is not effective, and when required by the schools actually leads students to stop volunteering and participating in their schools later in life.  While this in itself is concerning, it becomes clear to those of us who actually participate in Service Learning, that both authors have confused the pedagogy of true service learning with after school and extra curricular community service, often completed by youth for required hours. 

Many people confuse the two.  In fact, I just collaborated with Girl Scouts in a workshop last weekend to teach the difference between a community service project and service learning.  Community service is most often a one time (or even regular) volunteer event such as a food drive, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or picking up litter in a park. 

Service learning is long term, researching the root cause(s) of an issue, working with a community rather than for them, working for a sustainable solution with a long term rather than short term impact.  An example project that has come out of our service learning program Penny Harvest is a school researching nutrition in their school, researching gardening, collecting pennies to fund a school garden, planting as a school community, and harvesting the garden for their school cafeteria and local community.

In another example, students were talking about homelessness and discovered that homeless kids in their community did not have a place to go to do their homework after school or hang out and be kids.  The kids researched the issue, worked with Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and ended up creating a library in one of their shelters.  The kids organized a book drive in their school, and used their Penny Harvest funds for other supplies.  They also worked with the local senior citizen center to establish an after school tutoring and literacy program.  The project was so successful, they duplicated the model in a second shelter the following year. 

While community service projects are still great ways to introduce youth to giving back to their community, and very valuable shown here in Youth Service America's collection of reports, Service Learning is a very different opportunity for learning to give back.  In fact, #6 in YSA's top ten reasons for giving back states that: HIGH QUALITY SERVICE-LEARNING LEADS TO INCREASED ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT & SUCCESS.


While I understand what the authors of those articles were trying to say,it is so important that they realize the difference between community service and the true value of quality service learning. 

 

 

Friday
Aug232013

Beer and Bingo a Huge Success! 

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Beer and Bingo last night at the Handlebar Tavern! We raised over $500 for our programs, and Project CURE said they'd never received so many donated items for their kits from an event before! And, we had a LOT of fun!

This was not your grandma's bingo night.  The bingo games turned out to be music bingo! Our cards had artists and song names rather than numbers, and we had to cross off the songs we heard as the caller played them.  We were rocking out and singing along in our seats (thank goodness it was loud enough we couldn't hear each other very well), and itching to call Bingo for restaurant gift certificates!

The raffle prizes were fantastic too! Comedy Works tickets, gift Certificates to Pizza Republica, Opus, Sexy Pizza, Butterfly Pavillion and more!

The Handlebar Tavern turned out to be a great venue.  I've found my hub for ski-ball and shuffleboard!

I was too busy having too much fun to take pictures, but will be posting all the pics So Rewarding took as soon as I get those.  Thank you to all who came and made this first Young Philanthropists Game night fantastic!!

Thursday
Aug222013

Kids Have the Best Ideas!

I never would have thought to collect left over school supplies at the END of the school year, but these brilliant kids did just that and ended up with 6 SUV's full of supplies to take to a new DPS school.  I am about to meet one of these brilliant young minds as our newest Youth Advisory Board Member this year, and I am really looking forward to it! Read all about their project and organization here!

Monday
Jun242013

Wiggins Park Day a Success! 

This Saturday we had quite the crew in Wiggins, helping spruce up the park with Jodi Walker's Kids At Their Best.  Young Philanthropists Foundation brought Impact Factory kids, parents, and committee members, Penny Harvest Coach RuthAnne Schedler from Alexander Dawson School and some of her Helping Hands Club kids and parents, and Pat Zietz and her family from The Inn Between! All together we made a great team!

 

I had to hurry to try to get some "before" shots as our team just jumped right in!  We pulled weeds on the play ground and spread mulch.  There were many bare spots with concrete showing, and the weed fabric was ripped and looking shabby.

Tracy's (Impact Factory Committee) trimming the fabric and getting out of the mulch crew's way!

You can see the rest of the play ground, and beyond covered in weeds. 

Everyone jumped right in, spreading mulch...

...and painting the posts on the gazebo.

More mulch came, three truck loads total!

Thank goodness for our young directors, Miller and Cade, who took charge of the mulch spreading and let Tim know where to dump loads in his bobcat.  An Extra thank you to Jodi's son Tim for that handy piece of equipment!

Kids At Their Best mamas worked on hoeing up the weeds, making room for the checker board.

Once the gazebo posts were done, our painters moved on to freshen up the play ground posts, starting with the swings.  Jodi found painter mitts which were perfect for this project!

And for those hard to reach places...

The kids from Kids At Their Best had a brilliant idea to make a life size checker board!

 

And we freshened up the trash can with a little art project!

The kids discovered a great way to experiment with new colors while high fiving each other!

 

Take a look at all our hard work on the park!

 

And some of the hard workers that made this day possible!

Kids at Their Best Yanelli, and Impact Factory's Tracy Vlnicka.

The Austins, from The Inn Between family.

Pat Zietz and her family from The Inn Between.

Some of the girls from Kids at Their Best.

 

Jodi Walker from Kids At Their Best and RuthAnne Schedler from Alexander Dawson School, Penny Harvest and Impact Factory.

Cade and Miller from Alexander Dawson School's Helping Hands Club.

 

Impact Factory's Maddie Spiecker.

 

And organizers Jodi Walker and Kelly Hayes

 

Thank you for making this a wonderful day!

Thursday
May162013

Fashion Foward

If you haven't heard of Boulder-based Bead for Life already, you're missing out! Especially if you haven't had a chance to wear their beautiful beads! These aren't simply pieces of jewelry though.  Bead for life teaches business skills and entrepreneurship to women in Uganda who use those skills to raise themselves out of the dire situations they and their family face; living in slums, living in fear of war, living in fear of being sold into the human trafficking system with no way out. 

In addition to their entreprenerial services and gorgeous jewelry made out of wrapped-paper beads, Bead for Life also has curriculum available to help teach our kids about the kinds of challenges others may face. 

And, one of my favorite parts, they are starting a pay-it-forward campaign: "Do good, get bangled!"  Anyone that wants to get in on the movement can write in to Bead for Life to get a pack of beaded bangles.  Whenever they see someone doing something good, they write on the tag "You've been bangled for..." and hand them a bracelet! They can be tracked online and both the banglers and bangled do-gooders can share their stories!

Take a look at all Bead for Life has to offer - including kid friendly volunteer opportunities - and do some good around the world.  You may end up with a bangle for it!