The Foundation for Excellent Schools’ Century Program, TCP, continued to do great work mentoring at Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School for its second semester. In this article, CUH student Keith Davis shares his experiences:
On March 4th, 2006, four Chaminade Ethics and Criminal Justice students coordinated the first annual Farrington High School Challenge Day as a service-learning project through Chaminade. The event, supported by four military volunteers, thirteen Chaminade Wahine Volleyball Team members, and one civilian volunteer, took place at Schofield Barracks’ Leadership Reaction Course (LRC). Thirty-nine Farrington High School mentorship program students and one Moanalua High School student participated. Observing the day’s activities in a supervisory role were the CJ 332 professor and a Farrington High School vice principal, two teachers and three prospective mentors. The Challenge Day 2006 objectives were to provide the students with physical, mental, and ethical challenges through a fun variety of events. To accomplish this, the students would run several team-based races, be faced with three ethical situations, and run through several LRC obstacles. The ethical situations were prepared by [us students]. The LRC obstacles, whose scenarios were modified to be appropriate for high school students, are laid out to be physically and mentally challenging while forcing participants to work together as a team.
This service-learning project allowed us to fulfill our civic responsibility to a community of high school students. By coordinating Challenge Day, we were able to actively participate in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focus on the common good.
Realizing that the students involved were from an area where their expectations for the future were low, our desire to make this event a motivating experience drove us to a standard of excellence that might not have been present otherwise. As we prepared for Challenge Day, we felt that we were preparing an event that would allow us to give students in our community an opportunity to see that they can do more than they ever imagined and that setting goals for themselves, both short term and long term, would lead them to successful futures. This experience has left me with a great appreciation of the principles of service-learning.
Part of the college educational process is participating in service-learning projects that lead to the fulfillment of one’s civic responsibility. This aspect of learning is often the most challenging to begin because we come into such experiences with more questions than answers.
Human beings are eager to help others; however, we typically only want to help others as long as we are able to do so within our own comfort zone. Once we break out of our comfort zone and see how rewarding service-learning can be in an unfamiliar setting or situation, we then open up to serving in any number of situations.