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Students discover, design, develop, implement and evaluate a service-learning project based on an authentic community needed in a local educational or youth serving organization. Working closely with community partners, students identify community issues that can be addressed through Service-Learning projects. With these projects, Champlain College students do not have to wait to be contributors to their communities. Rather, they go out and make an impact right now.
In the past, Champlain College students have worked with area youth to develop a public campaign against hate words and combated de facto segregation by creating a multi-cultural harvest feast with students who then promoted their learning to their classmates through a multimedia presentation. Other students have created an anti-bullying campaign, while others promoted global awareness and civic education by leading a Model UN experience. The results of these projects of made the lives of many people just a little bit better and provided an opportunity for area youth to show leadership within their communities. Most importantly, these projects ensure that Champlain College pre-service teachers demonstrate the ability to work as a team member and advocate for students and families.
This experience is often transformative for students as they develop an identity more inclusive of diversity and more aware of their own capacity to make change. One student noted that,
"This class was unlike any other that I have previously taken in my college career. I was not expecting to take a class like this or do a project that required so much work. When I first started I did not like it one bit. I had a lot of other work to do and I really didn't want to worry about a project that would take all semester for me to finish, but I was really wrong. This project was great and really opened my eyes to the possibilities that I may approach when I become a teacher. I know from experience now what students are capable of when they set their minds to something."
Another student echoed these remarks when he noted that,
"the experience really gave me confidence once we started seeing some of the students begin to become advocates for our cause, and the wave that created in installing a community ideal."
Another student suggested that,
"I am honored and proud to be able to say I had a hand in laying the groundwork for this awesome opportunity, and to be able to say I learned as much as these kids did about the different stories, hardships, unique customs, and also about the deeper similarities these kids and their families have gone through. I am even more honored to be able to say I had a hand, however small, in a project that bolstered community awareness, ethnic tolerance, and understanding between young people of all different races, creeds and colors."