Service Learning FAQs
Service Learning is a commitment made by students of the Jr/Sr Schools of Choice in Brevard County. Each student enrolled at Edgewood has, upon accepting their seat, agreed to complete 25 hours of service learning each year for the duration of their time at Edgewood. This serves the triple purpose of preparing students for the Bright Futures Scholarship, giving back to our community, and bolstering our college applications. Service Learning is fulfilled by identifying a social problem, volunteering and logging hours to help address that problem, and finally reflecting on that process afterward.
From the Bright Futures Handbook –
“Service Hours Each district school board and the administrators of a nonpublic school must establish approved activities and the process for documentation of service hours including the deadline by which service hours must be completed. Service hours may include, but are not limited to, a business or governmental internship, work for a nonprofit community service organization, or activities on behalf of a candidate for public office. Except for credit earned through service-learning courses, the student may not receive remuneration or academic credit for the service work performed. The hours must be documented in writing, and signed by the student, the student's parent or guardian, and a representative of the organization. Additionally, the student must identify a social or civic issue or professional area, develop a plan for personal involvement in addressing the issue or learning about the area, and through papers or other presentations, evaluate and reflect upon the experience.”
- Do I HAVE to do Service Learning?
YES! Part of your commitment to being an Edgewood student is your commitment to Service Learning through completing community service. Edgewood students are extraordinary, and part of what makes you extraordinary is your willingness to give back to the community that has offered you such an outstanding institution of education. Failure to fulfil this commitment can and will result in a student being dismissed from Edgewood.
- When/Where are my hours due?
Hours are collected at the end of each semester by your Homeroom teacher. Dates will be announced as the time approaches. Seniors should aim to finish their hours by December in order to confirm their Bright Futures status in a timely manner.
Please make sure to make a copy of all logs before turning them in. It is your responsibility to keep a file of all hours earned during your Edgewood enrollment.
- How many Service Learning hours do I need each school year to meet the Edgewood requirement?
Each student is required to earn 25 hours of service learning each school year. We recommend that 12.5 hours are earned each semester. Hours earned in middle school are for School of Choice contract purposes only; hours earned in 9th through 12th grade go toward Bright Futures Scholarship eligibility.
- What is a social problem and how can I work to rectify it?
A “social problem” is an issue that affects many people within a society, often the consequences of factors extending beyond an individual’s control. These problems should be clearly defined in your “Identify and explain social problem” question: homelessness, hunger, poverty, childhood obesity, degradation of arts and culture, pollution, lack of care for disabled peoples, etc.
Your work to rectify it should be based on your personal involvement in learning about and addressing the issue through the joint actions of citizens and/or community resources.
Social Problem: Homeless populations often do not have access to enough food and/or food banks and thus face chronic hunger problems and malnutrition. (Services Performed: I will be working in a dunk tank booth; proceeds will go through my church to benefit Helping Hands Hunger Project.)
Social Problem: Many animals are abused and neglected and funds to shelter those animals are very limited. (Services Performed: I will be working at the animal shelter as a volunteer to take care of dogs and cats waiting to be adopted.)
Notice that the social problem is NOT "The shelter needs volunteers." or "Kids need to play more soccer.".
- How do I know if my organization and involvement fit the Service Learning requirement?
First and foremost, the student’s activities must be focused on alleviating a social problem (see above). Second, is that the activity must be a service to the community. Third, the organization must have a supervisory individual who can sign off for the hours and ensure the student's safety while performing those tasks.
YES -- A student volunteers at her church selling pumpkins around Halloween. The money goes toward stocking the church’s food bank to help the needy.
YES -- A student helps teach underprivileged children how to ice skate. The classes are offered free through a local program but take place at the ice rink.
NO -- A student attends Relay for Life and walks around a track, unsponsored, for several hours. No money is raised, no service is provided.
NO -- A student takes a paid internship at a local law office.
- Can I work with my church, temple, synagogue, or other religious institution?
Absolutely! Religious organizations do an astounding amount of charitable and community-service work. If your youth group is visiting a children’s hospital, collecting food for the hungry, building a house with Habitat for Humanity, taking a mission trip to build irrigation ditches in an impoverished area – write it up and earn hours!
- Can I earn hours over the summer?
Yes! Please do! Download and fill out a summary and work over the summer. The only trick will be hanging on to your log sheet until December when it is due.
- Can I earn my hours through Relay for Life?
Yes - but you must do them the right way. The hours a student logs should be hours spent in service of the problem (“Not enough money for cancer research and treatment”), which means those hours should be spent raising money to help pay for your team’s entrance to the event OR working at a booth selling knickknacks and snacks while at the event OR working as part of the event staff for the organizers. The event itself, the “Relay”, is really a celebration and a symbolic gesture of the work that leads up to it, and hours cannot be earned simply for attending the event.
- Can I donate items for hours?
There is no direct connection between the value of a donated item and the value of service hour, so this would be difficult to measure objectively from the get-go. Moreover, most donated items are purchased by parents, not students, and thus the actual sacrifice has nothing to do with the student and the "learning" component is missing. Most importantly, though, a quick drop-off donation does little to connect the student to the community and to the need being addressed, which is the most direct purpose of the "learning". Now, the student CAN put in hours asking for donations for an organization (with their blessing and backing) and earn the hours that way.