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Cornerstones: Building Rural America through Service Learning.

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Students in a poor, rural county in South Carolina worked with their community to build a new volunteer fire station, enabling many residents to get fire insurance. The project enabled students to see the relevance of education and to be seen as solutions to problems rather than as problems, generated enthusiasm among students toward the community and education, exposed students to potential careers, and contributed to a decrease in discipline problems and dropouts. Suggestions to others wanting to initiate service learning include involving youth from the start as leaders of the project. They can conduct a needs assessment and host community meetings to share the results of the assessment and discuss the next steps. Students, teachers, and community members can identify potential partners in the proposed project and contact them. Interdisciplinary work can be encouraged by involving teachers in various curricular areas. Students should be exposed to the career potential of the different skills used in projects. Administrative support for service learning should be sought. The best sources of funds are found locally. All participants should reflect and share reflections throughout the project. School and community leaders should celebrate the accomplishments of all participants and recognize their contributions to the community. A core group of teachers and community volunteers should be available to support the students in service projects, and hierarchies should be eliminated. Eight resources for further development of service learning are presented. (TD)

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Author:Pace, Jerry
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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