At Windward, Service Learning projects, opportunities, and curricula are designed to create citizens of our local and global communities who are compassionate, curious, and connected with others. To help fulfill that aim, all students are required to complete 20 hours of community service before the start of their Junior year. On January 20, Windward Prep students were treated to a special service learning community conversation with a trio of guest speakers, wherein they discussed the role of service in education and the impact change today can make tomorrow.
Led by student moderators Jaden Anselmo ’23 and Channing Pauley ’24, the panel featured Brad Gluckstein of Conga Kids, Kesha Knighten Hughes of The Grace and Wisdom Institute, and Lindsay Schwartz of Camp Harmony. After first introducing themselves and their respective organizations, the panelists then discussed their history with service learning, from both an educational and career perspective. A common theme from the discussion was recognizing a passion and finding a way to share it with those who may not have the same opportunities as others. From fostering social connection via children’s dance classes to hosting sleepaway camps for children experiencing poverty, the panelists’ connection to service came from a desire to share their interests with those less privileged.
Another important theme was that of understanding the importance of service learning beyond simply fulfilling an elective or requirement. All three panelists encouraged students to really research areas of service they might be interested in, and to engage in and pursue those interests for the right reasons. They also reminded students that service goes far beyond high school or the nonprofit sector, as the many life skills and perspectives gained through service initiatives would prove invaluable in higher education, the working sector, and beyond. “To provide service is to make an impact on things you care about,” said Channing. “It’s really important for all of us to make a difference and try to change people’s lives. Plus, it’s fun!”
Said Ashley Goodman, Director of Service Learning, on the panel, “I hope the students were able to take away at least one thing from the panelists, and the impact that service had on the speakers as individuals, as well as the communities that they work with. The skills that you learn through service will only have a positive impact on you, and will help you be successful no matter what career path that you choose to take. The opportunities are endless!”
Thank you to our amazing panelists and moderators for their time and insight! Interested in taking part in Service Learning initiatives on-campus or in the larger community? Be sure to check your newsletter each week for updated service opportunities! Also keep an eye on the Windward Network internship page for Summer service internship updates—students in 10th Grade and up are eligible to apply!