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Civic Engagement at Mary Baldwin College. Tips for Having a Successful Service-Learning or Community Service Experience. Workshop Agenda. 1. What is Civic Engagement? 2. Reasons to Participate 3. Selecting the “Right” Community Partner for You 4. Approaching Community Partners

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civic engagement at mary baldwin college

Civic Engagement at Mary Baldwin College

Tips for Having a Successful

Service-Learning or

Community Service Experience

workshop agenda
Workshop Agenda

1. What is Civic Engagement?

2. Reasons to Participate

3. Selecting the “Right” Community Partner for You

4. Approaching Community Partners

5. Tips for Success

6. Ethics and Responsibilities

7. Remember to Say “THANKS”

8. Contact Information

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” --Margaret Mead
what is civic engagement
What is Civic Engagement?
  • “Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.”[1]

[1] Thomas Ehrlich, Ed. Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, Phoenix: Oryx Press, 2000, vi.

service learning vs community service
Service Learning vs. Community Service

From Learning Through Serving: A Student Guidebook to Service-Learning Across the Disciplines

  • Service-Learning: Students engage in community service activities with intentional academic and learning goals and opportunities for reflection that connect to their academic disciplines.
  • Community Service: Students Engage in activities to meet actual community needs as an integrated aspect of the curriculum
service learning
  • Connect course content with actual experience
  • The point is for you to grow your skills and knowledge because you are bringing your capabilities to REAL WORLD problems, and benefit the community in the meantime.
service learning1
  • Students engage in community service activities with intentional academic and learning goals and opportunities for reflection that connect to their academic disciplines.
  • Service-Learning = Community-Based Learning Experience
reasons to participate in community service service learning
Reasons to Participate in Community Service/ Service- Learning
  • Make a difference in your community and in the lives of other people.
  • Cultivate new skills.
  • Gain practical experience in a potential career field.
  • Learn about the working of non-profit organizations.
selecting the right community partner for you
Selecting the “Right” Community Partner for You
  • What are your interests?
  • What are your skills?
  • What do you care about?
what are your interests
What are your interests?

Identify your INTERESTS - the things that you enjoy doing, discussing or daydreaming about often.

  • Hobbies
  • Sports
  • Academic subjects
  • Work activities
  • Issues

(these will make sure you are satisfied with your choice, and motivated to achieve your/your community’s goals)

what are your skills
What are your skills?

Identify your SKILLS

  • Learned - tangible things we’ve learned to do (computer skills)
  • Innate - aptitudes/talents (artistic abilities)
  • Personality – character traits such as: hardworking, motivated, creative, detail-oriented, etc.
what do you care about
What do you care about?

Identify your VALUES

  • Family
  • Social Justice
  • Freedom
  • Ethics
  • Fun/leisure
  • Job security
  • Religion/Spiritual
before calling potential agencies
Before Calling Potential Agencies…
  • Don’t procrastinate…it may take a couple of WEEKS to get this project completely set up!
  • Consider what you/your group would like to learn/gain from your service-learning experience and how this ties in with the course goals/objectives.
  • Consider what population you/your group would like to work with during your project (i.e., young children, teens, elderly people, people with mental/physical disabilities, people who are low income, etc.)
  • By doing something that you find interesting, everyone involved will benefit. Don’t just do a project to get it done and out of the way. This will reflect in your work and ultimately on MBC students as a whole.
come to the spencer center
Come to the Spencer Center!
  • Come into the Spencer Center and meet with the director of civic engagement to research some potential non-profit agencies and/or projects. If working in a large group, send one or two representatives to do some research, rather than going as an entire group.
  • You can also research agencies online by visiting
during your initial call
During Your Initial Call…
  • Ask to speak with the Volunteer Coordinator for the agency and tell them the name of your professor/course.
  • Clearly explain the entire scope of your project and your learning objectives (have something prepared if it makes you nervous).
  • Don’t be alarmed or disgruntled if they are not able to utilize your services at this time..
  • Find out if there is any necessary training involved and let them know about YOUR skills/experience.

**Do not be alarmed if the person on your list is not there. There tends to be a higher turn over rate in non-profit organizations. If the listed contact person is not there, just ask for the Volunteer Coordinator.

during your community service be a good volunteer
Be flexible

Show up!

Arrive to work on time

Call if you are going to be absent or late (these agencies are counting on you)

Carry out work assignments in a conscientious manner

Be aware of expectations & office culture

Meet deadlines

Be professional

(Maintain confidentiality & code of ethics)

Adhere to the policies and procedures of the organization

Dress appropriately

Show initiative and interest in your work

During Your Community Service…Be A Good Volunteer
ask questions clarify and learn
Ask Questions, Clarify, and Learn . . .
  • Treat your volunteer/community service as an opportunity to learn
  • Think critically and ask questions
  • Clarify work assignments to know what is expected.
  • Pursue opportunities to learn more (special projects/events, committees, etc.).
tips on keeping a journal
Tips On Keeping A Journal
  • Don’t procrastinate!
    • Reflect on your experiences daily.
  • Document observations & experiences.
    • Formulate questions.
  • Record reactions.
    • What are you learning?
    • What skills have you used and/or acquired?
    • How does it inform what you are learning in class?
ethics and responsibilities in service learning
Ethics and Responsibilities in Service-Learning
  • You are representing Mary Baldwin College!
  • Be drug and alcohol free during your service–learning project
  • Conduct yourself with integrity (be honest, show respect for individuals and property)
ethics and responsibilities cont
Ethics and Responsibilities cont…
  • Be on time!
  • Carry out all assigned tasks, follow through
  • (Don’t over commit or make promises you can’t keep)
  • Carefully plan your time, agencies will work with you around your class schedule
ethics and responsibilities cont1
Ethics and Responsibilities cont…
  • Dress and Act appropriately
  • Be flexible!
  • Keep confidentiality about clients
  • In the event of problems, call me!
  • Suspected child abuse must be reported to the Department of Social Services
after your service learning experience remember to say thanks

After Your Service-Learning Experience…Remember to Say “THANKS”

THANK the people with whom you have worked…they will have helped you with YOUR project!

more opportunities
More Opportunities


The Spencer Center in Wenger Hall