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.