After returning to Gordon in the afternoon, the students research the organizations they’ve been working with each morning, and the populations that they serve.
They combine that research with interviews and observations they have collected at their service sites.
They might tell stories about sharing breakfast with West African seniors, spending recess with wheelchair-bound Kindergarteners, and preparing lunch at Amos House.
But they’ll also talk about the refugee crisis caused by the Liberian civil wars, the
accommodations guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the most likely paths out of homelessness in Providence, Rhode Island.
They will also explain a specific need they identified at their host organization, and what they did to address it; these contributions might range from leading a conversation about playground behavior to creating a video that the organization can use to showcase their work.
Gordon’s service learning demands more than just volunteerism.
It asks eighth graders to engage with the populations they are serving, to ask smart questions about the challenges they face, and to allow themselves to be changed by the experience.