York students have the opportunity to bring fun, collaboration, hard work, intelligence, as well as York’s core values: honesty, respect, responsibility, and compassion, to their varied volunteer roles; helping the community grow closer and stronger. The goal of the service learning program is to have students adopt service as part of their identity: making positive contributions to others, to communities, and to the world part of who they are as productive citizens. As a graduation requirement, York expects each student to complete 10 hours of service learning each school year (excluding the eighth grade). Service is intentionally not cumulative, meaning one cannot simply meet the graduation requirement by volunteering 40 hours in one academic year. Sustained engagement with the community over time is important in affecting change, both within individuals and larger systems. While 10 hours is required, over 80% of the students do significantly more volunteering.
York defines “service learning” as any voluntary service in which students are asked to do more than provide manpower for a non-profit organization or social cause. Typically, service learning extends curricular goals by doing service in the community, mutually benefiting the organization or audience and the student. Students should be expanding their comfort zones by engaging in personally significant and challenging service, whether developing leadership capacity, intrapersonal communication skills, or organization abilities and other relevant expertise.
EXEMPLAR SERVICE LEARNING
- Learning about innovative approaches to community development while helping people in need in Guanajuato, Mexico on a CIEE Global Navigator Service & Leadership summer experience
- Leading elementary students in their week-long outdoor science experiences with Santa Cruz County Outdoor Science School
- Building a library at a school in rural India, by partnering with a local library to collect books and donations
- After volunteering with horses one year and with foster students in another, developing and fundraising for a week-long equine experience for foster children at Star Riders
- Utilizing Spanish language skills acquired at York to engage with and read books to elementary students in an afterschool program with City of Seaside Parks and Recreation
- Deepening one’s ocean conservation knowledge, and then adopting and communicating conservation messages to guests and others through the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Teen Conservation Leaders program
- Building a tiny home, and then donating that home to an organization that is addressing homelessness in Monterey County
Each student will, for each year in Grades 9-12:
- Complete a minimum of 10 hours of service learning;
- Verify all hours from a service supervisor;
- Reflect upon why this service learning was important to the community/audience and to themselves.