This year in Service Learning has really benefited me as a person. The opportunity to create and participate in a project of our own making has taught me several necessary skills such as leadership, teamwork, and organization. Also, this project has built my confidence, showing me that I am capable of planning events and making things happen. I feel as though our group has accomplished many of its goals, and hopefully will continue along this good path as we enter next year.
Our service learning group is called Society of Bookworms, and we aim to cultivate a love of reading in younger generations. As of now, our target group is third through fifth grade children in the local public schools. We have reached out to several schools in the area, including Newport Coast Elementary and Jim Thorpe Fundamental in Santa Ana. We even visited Jim Thorpe one day and helped the children pick out books. Finally translating our ideas into action showed us the viability of our project, as well as providing us with a springboard for future school visits. Next year, we hope to have a booth at the Orange County Book Fair, we hope to visit more schools, and we hope to work with public libraries to host readings.
We have faced some obstacles this year, such as coming up with the appropriate funds for our project. Next year, we hope to overcome this obstacle by holding fundraisers such as book drive bake sales, in which we sell baked goods in return for books. Also, we would like to raise some money in order to buy space at the Orange County book fair. We also initially had some trouble narrowing our goals. After a lot of collaboration with each other as well as the invaluable advice of our service learning panel, we narrowed our field to local upper elementary school students and realized that we wanted to focus on getting children interested in reading, rather than focusing on simple literacy. This decision is evident in our creation of a booklist and a three-step plan for picking the favorite book, both of which are on our blog.
My group and I have been very fortunate to have the support of our panel and of our school as they have really helped us make our ideas into something tangible. First of all, the workshops at the beginning of the year helped me see what specifically would have to be done in order to make a project into a reality. Hearing from Karina Hamilton and the head of the Civil Rights Tour really gave me a lot of inspiration. Ms. Hamilton gave me a lot of insight into what skills I specifically need in order to succeed, and I plan to use those skills both in my Service Learning process and in future endeavors. In regards to our panel, they have been very helpful in giving us ideas. We have taken several of their suggestions, from creating a book list to reaching out Alex Uhl at Whale of a Tale. I am very thankful to both my panel and the leaders of the workshops and hope to work with them more in the next year.
This year in service learning has been truly rewarding to me. I have learned various skills in leadership, organization, and collaboration, all of which I feel will serve me well as I continue with this project and with my life in general. I feel like our group has been very productive this year and I am optimistic for what next year will bring.