The Head sets the tone for school initiatives and programs. When you show your support through words and actions, your community is more likely to rally behind you and engage in your school’s offerings.
This is especially true when it comes to your school’s community service programs. Community service initiatives reap many positive benefits—your students become active citizens who learn the importance of giving back; your school supports worthy causes; and your efforts are recognized by your community.
In fact, a study from the Journal of Adolescence validates the benefits of a community service program for your students and community. Researchers examined the effects of volunteering on 681 teenagers between the ages of 11 and 14. The study found that teens had increased feelings of self-worth after helping others through large and small acts of kindness. Furthermore, these feelings were amplified when assisting strangers rather than family members or friends.
Recognize the efforts your students are putting forth and engage with them. Here are three ways you can show your support to move your school’s community service initiatives forward.
- Participate in a public way. When you chip in during the car wash fundraiser or act as the MC at a charity auction, you’re illustrating your support to your students, parents, faculty, staff, and community. Beyond just being present, you are creating relationships with prominent community members. This helps your school build bridges with organizations where you can make a difference. When you’re seen as an enthusiastic and active member of your school’s service program, your community is more likely to recognize its presence and engage with it.
- Ensure there is time for community service. Students should have an opportunity to participate in your community service program throughout the school year and in the summer months. It should be an integral part of your school’s offering—not in opposition to academic time or other cocurriculars. Your schedule should reflect this. You want your students to embrace learning as a lifelong pursuit—something that’s a part of their daily lives. Service should follow the same model.
- Provide adequate financial resources. This begins with appointing the right leader for your community service program. This person should be active within your community and able to generate enthusiasm for the program among faculty, parents, staff, and students. The Board and your office must also allocate the requisite funding for community service initiatives. Your program will probably require some combination of transportation and materials that you’ll need to supply. Provide sufficient resources to help create a meaningful and successful program.
You are the leader of your school. Support community service initiatives to help ensure their continued success.
Additional ISM Resources:
The Source for Academic Leadership Vol. 15 No. 7 Strengthen Your School’s Volunteer Program to Benefit Your Students and Community
The Source for Academic Leadership Vol. 15 No. 3 Four Ways to Ensure a Successful Community Service Program
Additional Resources for ISM Members:
I&P Vol. 38 No. 5 Community Service and Service Learning: Designing a Successful Program
I&P Vol. 40 No. 14 Scheduling the 21st Century Service Learning Program
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