Last April, Katie Radewald, a teacher at Fayetteville High School and a member of the Junior League of NWA, emailed me to ask about a service learning project that her English As A Second Language class could do for the Children’s Safety Center. She explained that in March she had told the class about the CSC and the work we do. They had also been discussing abuse and trafficking and thought this would be a great cause to do a project for. The class decided to raise funds for the CSC by soliciting friends, family members, and neighbors for donations. They also included raising awareness by displaying a banner at the high school with the child abuse hotline number on it as well as pinwheels for April.
Not only did the class collectively raise almost $1,000, but the students also gained self-confidence and a sense of community and belonging. Much of Ms. Radewald’s class is made up of students that are new to the United States. This project was a way for them to help a local cause and also feel like they themselves belonged. And since it was a project for English, they had to write a short essay describing their experience and why service learning is important. The students were very reflective and not only did they learn about helping their community, they learned a lot about themselves!
I asked Ms. Radewald to send me some of the student’s essays.
Here are some amazing and inspiring things the students accomplished and learned:
Student 1: “Service learning brings people closer, that everyone care and understand each others. It can help reduce inequality and isolation in the community. It helps motivate students stay in class, develop critical thinking, problem solving, gain skills with ability to work as a team, and leadership. I had a chance to solicit the donation for the Children’s Safety Center to help the children from abuse. I felt so proud of myself and more confident. I have learned how to explain to people about what I am trying to do more clearly, such as speaking slowly, giving specific purposes, and telling as a politely way.”
Student 2: “I am so happy I can become a member of helping Children’s Safety Center. At first I was so nervous because I never do this before. My first time when I ask people to donate money I was so nervous that I can’t speak fluently. But that person was friendly and I got donation from him. I was happy that I did it! After that I did better and better. Didn’t feel nervous as the beginning, but still kind of shy. The most important thing that is I did something good for those children who need help. I was so proud of that. So I hope everyone can do something for someone in trouble, so that we can have a better world.”
Student 3: “Being a part of something that helped the Children’s Safety Center is my bless. This is such a good opportunity for me to have a new experience in gathering donation. I felt so proud of myself while I’m doing this. I was chilling when Ms. Rad talked about this project, I was imagining how it looks like, I couldn’t breath anymore and couldn’t wait to doing this. Every time I read the introduction about the Children’s Safety Center for the people who I’m asking for donation, it makes me feel I’m a part of it, a small piece in a big puzzle.”
I literally teared up reading about how brave and proud these students were during this project. Most of the people the students asked said no and some were even down right rude. But these kids persevered and continued thinking about the abused children seen at our center and knew they had to help them. I was shocked and so excited when Katie told me the grand total. These students are simply AMAZING and we are so lucky to have them in our community!!!!
Emily Rappe’ Fisher – CSC Development Director