The Just Posts will continue and we'll continue to host all of the terrific writings for social justice in all shapes and sizes. But we are adding a baby and her name is Volunteerism. It's time to put all of our words into action. Collectively, separately. We are committing to writing and doing in whatever form that means for each of us.And this is where all of you come in. A baby deserves a baby shower, and your gifts are your writings about what it will mean to give of your time, what extra steps you will take to give back to your community and to our world, and what commitments we can all hold each other accountable to and how we can cheer each other on as we go.
Isn't that exciting?
I wrote about my own feelings about volunteering my time. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Then Aliki wrote a great comment on Giving More about how she oversees her students' community service projects. Hey! Students! I've got students! I was suddenly inspired (Thanks Aliki).
I teach students with mild to moderate cognitive disabilities and several other categories of disabilities that make it necessary to teach curriculum that is not aligned with our district's general education. It used to be called "self-contained" special ed, but it really isn't. My students take other classes for their electives. I teach reading, English, science, social studies, math, and Work Introduction Network. I teach students in grades 9-12, so get to have kids for four years. The great thing is that I get to teach a lot of life skills and functional skills to the kids. For our Work Introduction Network class (we call it WIN), I get to pick units based on a general guideline, but can create new units. What better thing to teach high school kids than community service? Than the value of giving back? I am going to pool some resources from different online sources to teach these kids the value of volunteerism. Then we will choose a project to do as a group, or split into a few small groups to do a few projects. I AM EXCITED! This topic will be fun, hands-on, and will be something that my students can take home with them and hopefully will multiply.
I've read a lot on how giving back, volunteering, community service, raises a person's self-esteem. It makes people feel better about themselves and gives them something to be proud of. It is something that is often missing in the life of a person with a disability. Many people with more severe disabilities spend their lives being cared for, being served, and aren't given the chance to pay it forward. By giving people the opportunity to serve others, you help their own psyche, as well as provide community service to a local agency.
I haven't decided yet what sort of projects we will do. My plan is to have a list and let kids sign up for what interests them. If anyone has ideas for simple community service projects, I'll take them! It mostly needs to be something we can do on-site at school, but we could possibly do a one day trip if we need to.
I can't wait to read what others have planned in terms of community service. In terms of volunteerism. The whole topic is one that gets me very excited, if you couldn't tell. Time to roll up my sleeves and get out there! I plan to do updates as we get into the unit. This will be a 9 week thing, or maybe even for the rest of the school year. I've got a lot of planning to do.