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Reflection: Learning Through Service Essay

1040 words - 5 pages

What: Service learning as I understand it…
Where I live, Jefferson County, it is 4th out of the 36 counties in Oregon for highest amount of people with an income at or below the poverty line. According to the U.S. Census, 20.2% of the people in the county are living at poverty level, wondering if they will have enough money to provide the basic essentials for their family. 75 to76% of the school age children in the district are eligible for the free lunch program. The recent report from the Oregon Child Development Coalition wrote “on average the school district gives away 2059 free lunches.” (ocdc.net) So what is service learning, it is the opportunity to not only give back to my community, but to understand the need for help and to actually be involved in providing that help to the people that need it most.
Over the duration of the term I contributed to two charities Neighbor Impact, and SMART. With Neighbor Impact I worked with the people that run the food bank aspect of the program. Last year the charity distributed 2.6 million pounds of food to local food banks and kitchens that help the homeless and impoverished. With the program, my responsibilities are to pack and sort food that is donated into food boxes, and soon my duties will include helping with the community garden. With the SMART program, start making a reader today, I read to children that are from low income families and or children that need a little extra help and attention in their lives. The program also gives books to the children that are read too. Most of these children would not have a book at home otherwise. It is the hope of the program that helping a child get excited about reading will help give them a boost in eventually changing their future.
So What: Who I aspire to be…
I’m sitting here writing this paper, staring at the notes and facts I have taken over the term and I am thoroughly amazed at how much I’ve taken for granted. Often, I’ve complained because my life was not progressing as quickly as I thought it should be. The reality is I’m much better off than I thought. The biggest shocker is how little I really did know about the world, and myself. Not once did it occur to me that the child next door may not have enough to eat, or their hunger would prevent them from learning. I heard a story from a fellow volunteer about a child who would fake an illness at lunch time so that the other students would not find out he had nothing to eat. What I found with this story was the kindness of strangers. One of the programs housed inside the Neighbor Impact building is the backpack project. Local kids in need, within the Redmond School district, are sent home each weekend with a backpack full of food so they will have something to eat on the weekends. They send home...

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