It is well understood that young people learn and develop through active participation. I believe we could be doing more to create thoughtfully organized experiences that meet community needs while still being a collaborate effort between school, and or employment.
Community service learning programs are not exactly a new idea. For example School District 71 has had its community connections program for many years, requiring a minimum number of hours in order to graduate. This is great for high school, but what about post-secondary? North Island College does require a certain number of hours in order to enrol in certain programs.
Some students may believe it is about getting it done for sake of criteria, but the point is aligning experience and teaching skills in a way that supports the next generation’s goals, ambitions, and future while supporting our communities today.
On the flip side, we need to provide more opportunities to young people to use these newly acquired academic skills and knowledge in real life situations while they are enrolled.
Can community participation actually be integrated into a young person’s academic curriculum? It should always be and I strongly believe this is the only way to teach empathy aside from an actualized experience.
Tyler Voigt is the executive director of Volunteer Comox Valley. He can be reached at 250-334-8063