We have heard it over and over again.
“I don’t know where to look for volunteering”
Our answer up until now has been to have students tell us their interests and then we sift through all of the volunteering opportunities available until we find something that matches – almost like the eHarmony of volunteering. There are many problems with this approach though. In searching for opportunities, we use large amounts of time and resources. Time and resources that only allow us to reach a small population of students. On top of that, it may take multiple iterations of volunteering for us to find the right one for a student. Students lose motivation while waiting for us to find something that fits.
The largest problem of all is that it does not encourage a habit of volunteering. We end up being the crutch for students and once they graduate or leave the city, they don’t know where to look for the opportunities we found for them.
This is why it is imperative that we help students understand what resources they have at their fingertips, how to use them, and why knowing and using them is pertinent to their lives.
Here is an easy comparison with which we all can associate:
By giving a man to fish, we feed him for a day. By teaching a man to fish, we feed him for a lifetime.
In order to make this a sustainable model, we must add another step.
By teaching a man how best to teach others how to fish, we feed the community for generations.
The fall Xplore and Ignite program will have students teaching other students how to use their resources. Then, to use these resources and actually volunteer. Next, to understand what skills and capabilities were enabled through volunteering applying them to their resume. The final step is the most important, though.
Why? Why is all of it important? We will reflect on the entire experience and knowing what it means to have gone through the program and how it can apply to each student’s future. With excitement, we take our first steps into this fall Xplore and Ignite program with Franklin High School.