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Friday, September 26, 2008

shake it

I know I say I work for the most wonderful organization all the time but that's because it's true and not just because of what I get to do but of the amazing people I sometimes get to work with. Here is an insight from the weekly report of one of our VISTAs in the national office about service learning:

So, I was at the National Forum for America’s Promise on Monday and Tuesday. They flew in representatives of the 100 best communities for young people to this forum, so there was a definite diversity of backgrounds, etc. Most of the conversation was great, but I was continually alarmed in conversations about “service-learning.” People simply did not understand what that term really means. School leaders, mayors, community organizers, etc continually employed the word “service-learning” when what they really meant was simple community service. It seems like someone told them community service is too closely related to court-ordered service, so they started adopting “service-learning” into their lexicon, without understanding the distinction. Even those that did understand that service-learning must be linked up to some sort of learning insisted that the ultimate goal of service-learning is to benefit the student – at whatever costs to the community. This makes me VERY NERVOUS. If service-learning programs are not thinking about the sustainability and best interests of their community and its pre-existing agencies, then history will remember service-learning as a fad at the turn of the century to—yet again—benefit the server. Service-learning is too powerful of a tool to start having communities misusing it.

So Trang, one of our new volunteers was in the office today. It was a little hectic, I had just gotten into a good groove with getting work done. We did some client service training and then did some outreach with our volunteer Sandi. It was a nice bonding experience where we talked about nonprofit transparency as well as good places to shop in Philly (none!).

As we were coming back to the building I ran into one of the administrators of an organization in the building called Youth Empowerment Services. They are a program for 18-21 year olds who have dropped out of high school. It gives them an opportunity to rengage through learning through media programs. Also another one of the Yes administrators founded YouthBuild! It was a really great conversation. I told him about how we could help out by helping his students with basic life skills like resumes and coverletters. He ended the conversation by saying "you made my day!" Trang and Sandi were really excited about this and now want to hold a social for all of the organizations in the building. This.is.exciting!

We've had tons of volunteer interest so now I'm focusing of effective management of the volunteers which is like a juggling act. I'm so excited about seeing Priya this weekend! Even though its rainy and cold booo...Okay, outtie!

Oh yeah by the way, does anyone have any ideas to change the world but just need funding, submit them here http://www.project10tothe100.com/faq.html.

Oh yeah and this is interesting, or at least I think it is. I'm very interested in information and how it can be used to improve our communites. Also how we can improve access to information for those who could use it to reach thier goals and how we can train the next generation of leaders to better access information to make decisions in an age of infromation overload. aka I want to be an academic librarian. But anyway I saw this interesting video and I thought I'd share it...http://www.kaisernetwork.org/health_cast/player_cgi2008.cfm?id=4596.

Quote: Society comprises two classes: those who have more food than appetite, and those who have more appetite than food. S├ębastien-Roch Nicholas de Chamfort, Maximes

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