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NobleHour Launches National Volunteer Week Scavenger Hunt

  
  
  

In celebration of National Volunteer Month, NobleHour is launching a virtual scavenger hunt to inspire participants to serve.  On each day of National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, NobleHour will use Instagram and Twitter to share clues or questions related to volunteering and community engagement. Participants that Tweet the correct answer to @noblehour with the hashtag #NobleNVM will be entered to win daily prizes and the grand prize of an iPad Mini. NobleHour celebrates National Volunteer Month with a Scavenger Hunt.

In addition to hosting the scavenger hunt, NobleHour will be sharing volunteer tips, exclusive service-learning blog posts, volunteer opportunities, and inspirational service quotes all month long.

“We believe in celebrating service every day, but we get especially excited for National Volunteer Month,” said Keara Ziegerer, NobleHour’s User Engagement Manager.

“The Strides in Service Scavenger Hunt is a fun way we can connect with volunteers, while rewarding them for their commitment to community engagement.”

Members of the NobleHour team will also connect with volunteers at the 2014 National Service-Learning Conference, MONUMENTAL. The conference runs from April 9-12, ending with Global Youth Service Day – the largest service event in the world. 

For more information about the Strides in Service Scavenger Hunt and NobleHour’s National Volunteer Month celebration, visit info.noblehour.com/nvm.  

 

About NobleHour:

We are a small company with a big mission to provide an online platform that enables and facilitates community engagement. NobleHour is a network of online communities that focuses on community engagement by offering a suite of tools for tracking and measuring service-learning, volunteering, and community service initiatives. Our online communities offer hour tracking, opportunity and event listings, and hour reporting tools that are used by school districts, colleges, universities, non-profits, and businesses throughout the US and most recently Canada. We have an interesting back story: NobleHour was started by a student back in 2005 who was looking for a way to find service opportunities in his area. It grew from a simple online database of service-learning opportunities to what we are today, with over 35,000 active users, over 3,000 organizations, and over 3,000 opportunity listings. Since the day of our official re-launch in January of 2012, our users have tracked close to 3 million service hours, with an economic impact of over $62,000,000

“Empowering NobleLeaders” at the National Service-Learning Conference

  
  
  

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For the past quarter century, the National Youth Leadership Council has brought together youth and adults from all over the world and all different disciplines to share ideas, skills, passions, and their service-learning experiences at the National Service-Learning Conference. The yearly conferences are held in various host cities, with different co-host organizations, and continues to grow in participant number as well as prestige of keynote speaker and program leaders every year. This years 25th annual MONUMENTAL conference April 9th to 12th will prove to be one of the biggest and most exciting yet. The conference will be held for the first time in Washington D.C., a city whose international network and incredible civic engagement has been a major motivation for this year’s MONUMENTAL theme. The conference will take full advantage of the unique service, programming, and networking opportunities our nation’s capitol has to offer.  

All conference workshops and plenary sessions will take place at the historic Washington Marriott Wardman park, unless otherwise indicated in the posted schedule. Various keynote speakers include Sandra Day O’Connor, retired Supreme Court Justice, Arne Duncan, ninth U.S. Secretary of Education, and Minh Dang, White House Champion of Change as a national leader and in human trafficking and child abuse. Youth leaders in service are equally involved in the preparation and participation as their adult counterparts and the conference will spotlight some of the most inspirational, motivated, and change-making young people as featured speakers, program organizers, and session leaders. Highlighted conference events include Capitol Hill Day, a truly unique opportunity for adult and student leaders to advocate for youth as solutions to today’s toughest challenges at home and abroad by meeting with legislators and Congress members. The goal of NYLC and Capitol Hill Day is to convene hundreds of youth advocates, as well as provide them the support and opportunity to meet with Congressional offices, to educate policy-makers about the importance of collaborating with young people to incite real change in their communities.

Students engaged in volunteer service.

Another highlighted event of this year’s conference is the Day of Service: A Celebration of Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) on Saturday April 12th. All attendees are encouraged to give back to the D.C. community and put into practice some of the service learning skills and initiatives they have just learned about in the days prior at the NSLC. The Day of Service will be held on the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial steps and includes several different ways to become engaged and have fun, including direct service projects, networking with community members and local nonprofits, and opportunities to hear from community leaders. Partnering organizations such as the Peace Corps, D.C. Habitat for Humanity, Earth Force, generationOn, and Special Olympics Project UNIFY will be present to hone the energy and inspiration cultivated by all conference attendees, speakers, and leaders. Youth Service America (YSA) is the founder and chief organizer of GYSD, the largest service event in the world and the only day of service dedicated to children and youth, which is held each year over a weekend in April (April 11th to 13th for 2014) in more than 100 countries on six continents. As the conference’s co-host, YSA aims to bring this monumental and international service event to the 2014 MONUMENTAL NSLC and Washington D.C. in order to address environmental issues, health and inclusion needs, and educational disconnects of the surrounding community. GYSD is both a celebration and mobilization of service-oriented youth, sharing the same focus and motivation as the annual National Service Learning Conference.

Whether you are a returning conference attendee or newcomer, young person or adult, student or teacher, administrator or non-profit organization, researcher or consultant on service learning and youth leadership, the NSLC’s multiple day and concurrent program schedule enables any type of attendee to personalize their conference and design experiences tailored to their own needs and passions. The educational sessions, discussion groups, interactive workshops, and featured speakers will provide both youth and adults the tools, resources, ideas, and motivation to enhance their service learning practices as well as improve their school, organization, and community. With the wide variety of program topics and types, anyone can become engaged in and inspired by the NSLC.

NobleHour is pleased to again be a sponsor of this year’s National Service Learning Conference. And we are excited to present an interactive discussion-based workshop on how to use service learning to empower students to become Changemakers will certainly prove beneficial for coordinators, teachers, and students to increase their understanding and value of applying what is learned in the classroom to the community. We will focus on how to effectively implement service learning projects with high school and college students to teach Social Entrepreneurship, Civic Engagement, and Student Leadership. Through group discussion and interactive presentation, we plan to facilitate the sharing of service learning experiences among participants. We hope to share our expertise and experience with the audience and together discuss effective strategies to increase students’ engagement, and enhance their learning, in the classroom and beyond.

You don’t want to miss this year’s National Service Learning Conference in Washington D.C. or the Global Youth Service Day taking place all over the world. Find out how to get involved with one of the hundreds of projects or if GYSD is already coming to a region near you. Even if you cannot attend this year’s exciting conference, there are many ways to stay connected and informed of the NSLC’s happenings through facebook, twitter, or the soon to be available NSLC mobile app.

Planting the Seeds for a Successful Service-Learning Program

  
  
  

This post was written by NobleHour Special Contributor Natasha Derezinski-Choo, a student at Grimsley High School in Greensboro, NC.
 

“Students are always asking, 'when will I ever use this,' and so service-learning, for me as an educator, has always answered that question by giving them opportunities to solve problems.”

– Brenda Elliott-Johnson, Executive Director of Student Services and Character Development for Guilford County Schools

The 25th annual National Service-Learning Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. this year from April 9-12.  This conference invites educators and students from across the nation to attend workshops, hear keynote speakers, and engage in service. The event brings together civically engaged young people to share the impact of service-learning and volunteerism. This year the conference will focus on teaching leadership, advocating for service-learning on Capitol Hill, and service opportunities across the globe.

One of the conference presenters is Brenda Elliott-Johnson, the Executive Director of Student Services and Character Development for Guilford County Schools and 2014 recipient of the G. Bernard Gill Urban Service-Learning Award. I sat down with Elliott-Johnson to learn how a successful service-learning program is started in schools and to learn how service-learning can serve as a tool for educators.

______________________________________________________________________________


Natasha:
How did you become involved in service-learning. Where did it all start?

Elliott-Johnson: I started with service-learning as a teacher, and so that would have been almost twenty years ago. I just really tried to figure out ways to take what students were learning in school to some real world examples. Students are always asking, “when will I ever use this,” and so service-learning, for me as an educator, has always answered that question by giving them opportunities to solve problems.  

In Nashville I was still really involved a lot of organizations.  I was a Student Council sponsor at my high school. I was involved in a program which helps young people think of ways to address bias, bigotry, and discrimination.  We had a lot different ways that we were helping young people solve community problems.  

I was a science teacher and we had a group of young people—I taught at a predominantly African American school—and there was a concern about the lack of African Americans going into the field of science.  Our students developed a website to promote African American students into the fields of science by highlighting local people who were working in those different areas.

As a principal, I also served on a number of community boards including a Youth Holding Power project that I helped to sponsor, which was a national project that had youth leading school reform efforts, and a Youth Impact Project.

Natasha: You’ve won an award and you will be attending the National Service-Learning Conference. Can you tell me a little about that?

Elliott-Johnson: The National Youth Leadership Council holds an annual National Service-Learning Conference, which bring together students, teachers, and researchers in the field of service-learning. This is our third year, as a school district, to participate. The last three years we have been able to bring students so they can see what other students are doing around the country in the field of service-learning, as well as share our practices and learn about other opportunities for service-learning.

We are glad to be able to do that this year. It’s going to be a big deal, and one of the events includes is a visit to our elected officials – to actually go on Capitol Hill and talk about the importance of this type of learning.

Natasha: Can you tell me about the evolution of service-learning here in Guilford County?

Elliott-Johnson: Our superintendent, when he came in 2008, did listening tours around the city. What he heard over and over again was that something was missing from the education of our students. Whether he talked to parents, students, community, or teachers, they all said the same thing. They felt that it was character—that our students needed to have good character and they also needed to make a positive difference in their community, not just when they graduated.  So out of that came our district’s Character Development Service-Learning Initiative, back in 2008.  

Our original goal was to expand character development and service-learning district-wide. We’ve had some tremendous work happen, including in the last three years for our high school seniors to document more than 600,000 hours of service and more than 2000 of our graduates to earn service-learning recognition. We have a lot of youth that are engaged.  More than 10,000 have been engaged in service-learning in communities and schools. I’m just so excited about it. We’re just beginning to measure the footprint that our youth are leaving in our community: that 600,000 hours is more than a $14 million impact. They [youth] have a lot of innovativeness that we could benefit from as a community.   

To clarify, students in Guilford County School’s service-learning program can earn recognition for their service in two forms.  They can earn an Exemplary Award by tracking at least 100 hours of service-learning using NobleHour, or they can earn a Service-Learning Diploma by completing at least 250 hours of service-learning. 

To keep track of all the hours students complete for their service-learning recognitions, Guilford County schools turned to NobleHour to help make this process easier and more efficient.  As Brenda explains, to fulfill the superintendent’s vision of service-learning “…we had to find a system that we could easily use to capture these hours. We looked at a lot of different products, and NobleHour seemed to be the one that really stood out for us and has helped us to be able to capture that data.”  The impact of these hours is changing the lives of students and community members.  Educators in Guilford County have started a successful service-learning program that is growing and taking learning beyond the classrooms and into the real world.  

Scheduling College Tours? Begin with Basic Questions.

  
  
  

In part two of our series on college visits, we discuss how to decide which schools to visit and when to schedule tours.

It’s time to face facts. You can’t put it off any longer. The little boy who held your hand whilescheduling college tours
walking into kindergarten and the sweet little girl who used to wear pigtails are in the final stages of determining where to go to college. Yes, college.

You’re ready now. You can do this. It’s time to start the college tours. While it might be easy for you as a parent to just handle it and schedule a few visits, it’s important your student is involved in the process. Before you begin booking flights or packing up the car, have your student do a little legwork.

Parameters

Have a discussion with your child. Talk about parameters. Do they want to go to a school in a big city or something more suburban or rural? Does the size of the campus matter? Consider categories – SEC versus Big Ten, small private school versus big state school, religious versus secular. Does your daughter want to go out of state? Talk about regions of the country. Does your son want to be on the west coast or the east coast, south or north? Does your student have a specific major in mind? Do they want to play sports or have a particular talent – theater, dance, music?

If you’re lucky, you might get something more than, “I don’t know.” My friend’s daughter has grown up in a very urban environment. She’s decided she wants to experience a more rural campus. We live in the Midwest. My son’s one major requirement is to be someplace warm! Keep asking questions to narrow down the list.

Have your child review college guidebooks and online sources like Fiske, Princeton ReviewBarron’s, or U.S. News and World Report.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your child’s high school counselor before you visit schools. This person should know something about your student and could offer suggestions about which schools to consider. The counselor may also personally know college admission representatives or put you in touch with recent high school alums at different universities.

“The College Board has a Campus Visit Guide that can assist families in starting the process ofcollege applications determining schools to visit," said Deborah Kammerer, associate director recruitment & yield, 
UC San Diego Office of Admissions & Relations with Schools, a member of the NobleHour Network. "It includes information on things to consider before you visit, ways to learn about schools online, a checklist for campus visits, and testimonials from students on how campus visits assisted in their college selection process.” 

Another resource that may appeal to your savvy social media student is to have them check out the Facebook pages, Twitter accounts or other forms of social media used by the universities that interest them.

As your child begins his research, encourage him or her to highlight 10-20 schools. Some kids may choose more, others far less. It’s just to get them thinking about where they want to go and to take ownership of their future. Once they have their picks, ask them why the schools are on the list. Be prepared for some lame answers, but keep digging. Maybe it’s the location. Maybe it’s the courses they offer. Maybe it’s because the football team won the national championship. Or, possibly, it’s because it’s the furthest school from you and all these questions!

“We told our kids to look through the lists and pick 20 schools that interest them,” said Terri Stuckey, a mother of two college students and a junior in high school. “Then, we went over the list and asked them why they found those schools interesting. I was into it more than my kids. The parents have to get it started though.”

“I was against visiting any schools until I had narrowed down my college options to two,” said Ellie McKnight, a senior in high school in Chicago. “My mom insisted we go on a college tour last spring break. Although I think most stuff about the school you can learn online, the visit on campus allowed the great opportunity to talk to faculty.”

McKnight said visiting the schools solidified her interest in William & Mary in Virginia, and Dartmouth in New Hampshire. It also sparked an interest in Emory University in Georgia.

Stay In Contact

If your child is like mine and doesn’t often check his e-mail, have him use your address or a new account to sign up for ACT, SAT and college information. Once my son completed the personal information sections for ACT and SAT, we started getting e-mails from universities all over the place. Some sites will also ask for a parent e-mail address, so you can keep on top of the information as well. It can be overwhelming. Stuckey said she created a college folder and moved e-mails into it every day and then reviewed them weekly. “I deleted some and responded to some, mostly asking for more information. I did the same with the paper mail too.”

Logistics

Stuckey said once they narrowed it down, she then looked at universities located inEmory cities allowing flexible travel arrangements. They looked at cities with major airports, non-stop flights, or areas where they could visit more than one college in one trip. Also, if they had to fly, they committed to visiting at least two schools to make the trip more cost-effective.

“We tried to travel when the kids were off school and took advantage of times when other high school students were in school.” Being from New Orleans, Stuckey used the Mardi Gras break to visit schools. 

Jane Berry, a sophomore at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, said her mom made a planner for their visits together. “She mapped out our road trip with cool places to stay and facts about the school. This made a huge difference for me and made me really consider some Midwest schools.”

While it may be convenient to schedule tours during holiday and summer breaks, it doesn’t always give you a true picture of the campus. “It is also nice to visit the college or university during the academic year, when school is in session, to get a true sense of the campus atmosphere,” said Kammerer.

Stuckey agrees. “The best time to do a tour is when school is in session. Summer is okay if classes are in session or if there’s a new student orientation going on.”

Another option to maximize time and minimize out-of-town expense is to wait for acceptance letters to help determine which schools to visit. “We visited schools that we didn’t get a chance to see initially and also did some second visits to help make decisions,” said Stuckey.

“UC San Diego hosts a day just for admitted students and their families called Triton Day,Triton Day said Kammerer. “It’s a great opportunity for admitted students to explore the campus and the variety of opportunities available.”

Scheduling

“Planning a visit may vary from institution to institution, but many universities including UC San Diego offer an online registration site that allows visitors to schedule their campus tour,” said Kammerer.

Stuckey said almost all schools have a “Plan Your Visit” section on their websites with information about flights, travel agencies, car rentals, and lodging. Always ask if they offer discounts for college visits.

Many schools have open house events with tours, presentations, etc. You can check each school’s website in their admission section for dates and information about attending those events or to schedule individual tours. Tours are offered throughout the week and sometimes on Saturdays. Depending on the university, you may be able to sit in on a class, visit professors, meet coaches or visit with students.

“At Emory, my tour allowed me to get in contact with the dean of admissions, which definitely impacted how I viewed the school,” said McKnight.

“The availability of group and individual tours and spending the night on a campus will vary across universities,” said Kammerer. “In terms of travel and accommodations, it is best to plan ahead. Many institutions host links to area visitor offices and hotel sites on their tour page.”

“Most times when a student is closer to making up their mind about attending a particular school, it is recommended that the student revisit if possible and perhaps stay overnight to get a more robust experience,” said Charles Basden, Jr., coordinator, special projects, for Georgetown University, a member of the NobleHour Network.

Basden also suggests inquiring about potential special situation funds universities may have to help assist families with their effort to visit campus.

Stuckey advises staying as close to campus as possible. It’s a great way to learn more about the community. When I visited LSU with my son, we stayed at the Cook Hotel right on campus. We could walk through the university grounds, meet and speak with students along the way and we were able to get a feel for campus life.

Also, when making travel arrangements, consider arriving on campus early or staying a few hours after the tour. There’s nothing worse than missing a casual opportunity to visit with students, professors, financial aid representatives, or admission counselors because you have to rush off to catch a flight. Remember, if it’s a group tour, there will be other parents who want to meet with university staff also. Be prepared to wait.

Have a cup of coffee at the local café or the bookstore. Grab lunch in the dining hall or dinner at a favorite university hangout. Walk around campus on your own. It’s a great opportunity to speak with students and ask them questions about school. “Kids get a strong feeling about the campus and the people they meet on campus,” said Stuckey.

Next time - Part III - Going on Tour and questions, lots of questions!

Photo credits: Dolly Duplantier, Terri Stuckey, and UC San Diego Publications/Erik Jepsen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How High School Students Can Earn College Credit this Summer

  
  
  

Apply Now for the Ultimate Social Entrepreneur Summer Experience

Space is limited!

social entrepreneur summer camp
It's not too late! Though March 1st has passed, we are still accepting Applications for the 2014 UF Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability Summer Program.

We are still processing applications, and still accepting last minute applications. If you know of anyone interested in applying, get them to apply ASAP!

We encourage those who are interested to submit the online portion of their application as soon as possible, it is ok for the packet of materials to follow. Once we have filled, students will be waitlisted.


Please share this information with your friends or other prospective students:

The University of Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) is pleased to announce our 8th Annual Pre-College Summer Program for High School Students: UF Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership & Sustainability Summer Program.

This program is for motivated, college-bound rising juniors and seniors who are interested in Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Sustainability.

From June 22 through July 25, 2014 program participants will take two college-level courses at UF: ENT4934 - Exploring Entrepreneurship & SYG2010 - Social Problems & Solutions.
Participants will also complete 75+ hours of community service (towards the requirement for Bright Futures Scholarships + IB CAS hours). Students will participate in evening and weekend programing including a Speaker Series, mentor partnerships with Entrepreneurs and Nonprofit Leaders, field trips, visits with Gator Athletes, and other exciting events and activities. The program will culminate with an awards lunch on the final day, recognizing the students for their leadership and entrepreneurial spirit.

Students will work, eat, play, and sleep on campus during the five week program. They will be housed in Beaty Towers, near other high school students attending summer science & engineering programs. Participants will have access to the university's facilities including a newly renovated library, student union and arts center, and many state of the art recreation and sports facilities (including three fitness facilities, nine fields, two pools, six outdoor court facilities, and a gym).

Apply Soon!
We encourage interested students to submit the online portion of their application as soon as possible, it is okay for the packet of materials to follow. Applications will be reviewed and applicants will be invited on a rolling basis and accepted until the program is full. We expect to fill in March; after we have filled, students will be waitlisted.

For more information:
http://www.ufyoungentrepreneurs.org/

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us, quickest replies will come by email.

Contact:social impact and social entrepreneurship at UF

Dr. Kristin Joos, Director
info@ufyoungentrepreneurs.org
352-273-0355


YELS is sponsored by UF's Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, in Partnership with UF's Center for Precollegiate Education & TrainingUF's Office of Youth Conference ServicesUF Center for Leadership & Service, the UF Office of Sustainability, and the UF Innovation Academy.

Service Reflections: Tips for Faculty and Students

  
  
  

Empowering NobleLeaders: Service Reflections

Thank you for joining us for another “Empowering NobleLeaders” Blog with Dr. Kristin Joos and Liz Harlan.

Reflection in life, especially when positive, is almost always beneficial. The act of reflection can increase feelings of self-perception personal purpose, and community awareness, as well as increase understanding as to one's role in the greater community. We would like to share with you the importance of reflection on service experiences and offer some insight for both faculty and students on how to do service reflections.  Reflection is an integral component of volunteer service.

While a student is volunteering, the service experience can become more meaningful through constant questioning of motivations, asking why one is helping, and keeping those ideas at the forefront of their mind. A student may maintain their motivation to help by keeping track of both the work they do, as well as their initial and ongoing reactions to their service activities. Reflection before, during, and after a service experience is key, to set goals, and to remember and document observations, emotions, and activities. The most important reflection may come after when the student connects their individual experience to the bigger picture, whether it’s a wider community or national/international issue, cultural or environmental cause, or institutional motive. With reflection and further research, a student will gain deeper understanding of oneself, their community, and society. The more one reflects on their volunteer experiences, the more one knows what they like, dislike, and can identify personal strengths. Additionally, students can then use their service reflections to decide how to channel their experiences into greater action or next steps, which can be beneficial both for the individual (e.g., explore new passions or possible career choices) and the community (e.g., organizing one river clean-up to be an ongoing project with other students and community members in the area). 

How to do Service Reflections: 

For students volunteering, it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day routine. As you begin to look back on your work, here are some helpful ways to take stock and connect to the bigger picture. 

Get started with three easy questions:

What? So what? and Now what? These questions are commonly paired with community service to help participants think about how to channel their experiences into action or next steps. Answer them on your own or with other volunteers. 

What? 

How would you describe the actual work you’ve been doing? What different types of situations have you been involved in and learned from? Whether it’s playing with kids or talking to an elderly person or filing hospital records, describe your day-to-day work. 

So What? 

What did these actions mean? Who did they impact? How did they impact you? How did they affect the community you worked with? How did they contribute to the larger impact your organization (or you) is making? 

Now what? 

Now that you’ve done your service, what are you going to do next? Are there other channels of involvement? What else would you like to know about your site or issue? How will you take this experience and put it to use helping others? What ripple effect will your experiences make for yourself and others? 

How to promote service reflections and service learning for faculty: 

Reflection is a key component of service learning in and out of the classroom. It can be accomplished in many different avenues that students can choose for themselves to fit their learning and creative styles. Encourage students to explore these styles and decide how they would like to record and reflect on their volunteer experience

Each time a student volunteers, it is beneficial to take a few minutes to make notes about what they did, what they learned, and how the experience impacted them. These notes will be useful for future reflecting on experiences as well as for possible use in creating a final presentation for a class. NobleHour has an work reflection tool for students exactly for this purpose.  

Engaging in conversation with others (e.g., friends, professors, family) to explain what the student has been doing and why it is important to them is another way to reflect. With a volunteer supervisor’s permission, a student may be able to take photos and document their adventures in service (there may be strict rules requiring permission and releases) and use these visuals later for reflection and sharing. NobleHour enables students to share their photos, videos, and reflections using the Contribute and Share tool.  Faculty members should encourage student reflection.

One of the main goals of service learning is that students will continue or expand upon their community service even after the final project is done. If students are interested in learning more about their cause or organization, people at the volunteer site are great resources for other contacts and groups that are doing similar work and organizing similar events. 

To maximize the service learning curriculum, components of reflection throughout the semester for students should be interspersed in the syllabus. Class discussion, journal entry writing, online posts, article critiques on surrounding service topics, and a final demonstration or project of the students’ volunteer experiences are wonderful and diverse ways to get students engaged and thinking about their experiences.  

Teachers can guide students' reflection processes in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to: discussion, role play, and journaling

Students are encouraged to reflect on their experience and:

  • Describe what happened.
  • Examine the difference made.
  • Discuss thoughts and feelings.
  • Place experience in a larger contect.
  • Consider project improvements.
  • Generate ideas.
  • Identify questions.
  • Encourage comments from partners and recipients.
  • Receive feedback.

To fulfill one of her global health minor requirements in college, Liz took a course called Core Issues in Global Health: Community Health Practice for Refugees. The professor employed a Community Based Service Learning syllabus guideline which included student-led discussions, lectures, presentations, several community guest speakers, papers, posters, and a community engagement project. The class concluded with each student creating a material (paper, art, video, or article) that described their community refugee experience and also would benefit the organization. The professor made it a class requirement to get out into the surrounding community and see for themselves the information they learned about. Liz's work as an after school tutor with Fugee’s Family outside of Emory every week for one semester created meaning for the statistics and health disparities they were learning about for refugee populations in America. She is now able to look back over her paper and final project, and remember how engaged she felt both in class and with the young refugee soccer players at the Fugee’s school house. 

Service learning and service reflections are valuable student and teacher tools and provide numerous opportunities for personal growth and community service. The more these ideas and actions are incorporated into classrooms, from K-12 to higher education, the better students, communities, and the world will be.

Tune in next time for a discussion of the power of volunteering in diverse environments and with diverse people.

 

"Writing in the Rapids" by Julie Jordan Scott is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Millennials Look for Meaningful Work

  
  
  

This post was written by NobleHour Special Contributor Natasha Derezinski-Choo, a student at Grimsley High School in Greensboro, NC.

As Millennials come of age and enter the workforce, their views of work are quite different from older generations.  Young people value work-life balance, but they see work as a part of their life that should be a meaningful part of their life.  They are looking to get more than a paycheck out of a job, and when they find the right fit, they are usually willing to invest more of their commitment and determination to yield personal, professional, and social gain.  

Here are some core beliefs that affect the way Millennials view work, and how they can find jobs that satisfy these values.  

Fulfillment: Unlike previous generations, Millennials care more about job fulfillment than financial security.  Millennials see work as an opportunity to delve into their interests and to work in a field they feel passionately about.  Young people don’t want jobs that feel like work.  They want their work to feel meaningful.  This type of meaning can take many forms. As Generation Y enters the workforce, they are looking for opportunities where they can use their knowledge and education to learn new skills and get ahead.  For some, a job is fulfilling if it is part of a successful career they see in the future.  
Millennials are confident and are motivated by goals and room for growth.  They are looking to gain experience and are willing to learn.  Young people will also find jobs fulfilling if they are challenged and given the chance to think critically and creatively.  They are not interested in menial tasks and are more interested in being engaged.  Millennials who feel their work is meaningful are more productive and also less likely to quit.     
Millennials are motivated by a challenge.
Technology: Millennials grew up in the tech age.  They want to use technology to make things faster and more efficient.  They want to use their devices to communicate and multitask more smoothly.  Young people view technology both as a tool and as a piece of their identity.  They use technology to be more productive and better communicators, but they also value social media and the ability to express themselves.  Though older generations may perceive this as a distraction, young people love to multitask and they enjoy the ability to talk to friends, communicate questions to coworker, and even share a “selfie” with their social networks all on the same device.  However, as writer Crystal Kadala points out, “Treating your Gen Y employees like your IT Services connection is a definite no-no. Not all Gen Yer's are adept with technology and no one likes to be put on the spot for assumed skills.”  Millennials want to work with technology that makes them more productive.   

Feedback: Since Millennials are interested in expanding their skills and knowledge in their work, they also want to receive feedback.  They want to know what they are doing well and how they can improve.  They see their jobs as more than a means of income; they want to gain experience and expertise.  

Young people are looking for jobs that will be valuable opportunities, and they want to work for people who will serve as mentors in their careers.  Work relationships that feel like egalitarian partnerships allow them the chance to be heard, feel valued in a company, and receive guidance and experience.

 
Values: Generation Y sees businesses and corporations as forces for social change.  They believe companies should take an active role in addressing societies issues such as the environment, inequality, and fair business practices. Millennials are interested in companies whose values align with their own.  A survey conducted by PwC found that almost sixty percent of Millennials prefer to work for an employers whose “corporate social responsibility values matched their own.”  Young people believe that business should have a positive impact on society, and for this reason the prospect of social entrepreneurship is very appealing to Millennials.  Not only are Millennials more likely to be entrepreneurs, but because they grew up volunteering more than their generational counterparts, they have more faith in the common good and are more involved in volunteerism.  

They were raised in an internet-connected, globalized world.  They are more likely to have traveled abroad compared to older generations, and they are more aware of problems faced by people on both a global and local level.  Through social media, Millennials are connected and more sympathetic to seeing the broader picture, and they feel that bettering society is a necessary part of success.  They believe their work should be more about generating profit, but also about sustainability and a better tomorrow.  Business initiatives and corporate responsibility that benefit the community appeal to Millennials.  

“Young people want to simultaneously reach levels of financial wellbeing as well as achieving social good,” said Claritta Peters, a student at SOAS Ventures.
Millennials want their work to have meaning, not only in terms of personal or financial growth, but also as a benefit to the community at large.  When they feel that their values are part of the work they do, they are more personally invested, dedicated, and committed.  


How can Millennials find work that fits the bill?  Based on this list, we can see thatNobleHour is a Certified B Corporation. Millennials are demanding higher expectations from their work.  A way of fulfilling their hopes in work is through working for a Certified B Corporation. Certified B Corporations, or B Corps, form a community of over 900 companies certified for “higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance.”  In 2012, NobleHour became a Certified B Corp by encouraging groups and individuals to connect and to enact and measure positive social change.  B Corps like NobleHour use “the power of business to solve social and environmental problem” and “are leading a global movement to redefine success in business.”

The B Corp Anthem says, “We have a dream that one day all companies will compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world.”  This mission aligns with what most Millennials are looking for in their careers.  B Corps can provide meaningful, innovative environments that provide room for growth and align with Millennial values.

 


Image via itupictures

Spring Break is a Good Time to Start College Visits

  
  
  

college brochuresSpringtime is around the corner. That means high school seniors are eagerly awaiting
acceptance letters and juniors are in the home stretch for ACT and SAT prep. It also means that
with spring break on the horizon, and summer beyond that, now is a good time for all high school students to start planning those college visits. In this three part series, we’ll provide some guidelines and tips to make the most of your student’s college visits. We’ll start with an expert – a mom.

Terri Stuckey is no stranger to college visits. With a junior at Emory, a freshman at the University of Virginia and a junior in high school, she’s as close to an expert as they come. Stuckey has visited at least 26 schools, some of them twice, and she’s not done yet.

Start Local

Don’t let those numbers overwhelm you. Not all visits require airfare or lodgings or days away from school and work. One of the easiest places to start your journey is your local university. Even if your son or daughter is adamant about going away, this is a great place to begin. It doesn’t matter if they want to go to that particular school. Visiting different colleges lets students determine what they like and dislike. It’s just as important to take note of why they don’t want to go to a specific school.

These visits can be done on days off from school, after school or on a weekend. You can get a feel for the whole tour experience. This will help you gauge time for itineraries later if you decide to tour schools out-of-state.

In addition, attending local events on a college campus can give your son or daughter perspective and get them excited about the admission process. Catch a show put on by the theater department or cheer on the local team during a football game.

 VacationsLSU

If you’ve already planned your Spring Break vacation, find out if there’s a university near your destination. If you have the time, take a side-trip and schedule a tour. Have lunch or dinner on campus. Walk through and visit the bookstore or if you’re short on time, just drive through the university. Again, it’s a good starting point just to see what’s out there and to give them a point of comparison.

Just about every university my family visited was during a vacation. Road trips through the south brought us to the University of Alabama, Ole Miss, Tulane, LSU, Loyola, and the University of Miami. My boys are two years apart. I made sure the younger one was paying attention. Even their sister, five years younger, has fond memories of our campus visits.

Summer Camps

Stuckey also suggests enrolling your student in a weeklong, overnight, summer camp before going to the expense of scheduling out-of-state tours. Her kids did it the summer after their sophomore year in high school. “It doesn’t have to be where they want to go to college, but it’s a great way to see if they want to go away for school.”

It doesn’t necessarily have to be an academic camp. The point is to give them the experience of being on their own away from home, family and friends. It also provides them with the opportunity to live in a dorm. “Before you start looking at colleges all over the country, see if they can survive a week alone,” said Stuckey.

If they don’t enjoy the experience, then it helps narrow things down. It may not be worth it to visit universities more than a few hours away.

Many schools offer summer programs for high school students. It’s a great experience for the kids. Some offer guided tours as part of the camp, as well as meetings with admission and financial aid counselors. They may even offer college credit. Stuckey said being on campus gets them excited about going to school. “The kids also learn the vocabulary of admissions.”

It’s best to sign up as early as possible. Deadlines can be as early as March. Just search “college summer programs for high school students” and you’ll get a variety of listings. You can also check with your high school college counselors as they may have information about summer programs too.

 Multiple ToursUVA

Another option for visiting schools is to set up a group tour. Check with your high school to see if they offer any bus tours. Some may organize weeklong excursions visiting multiple schools within a specific region. “The kids see a variety of schools, but the parents aren’t with them,” said Stuckey. “The kids have fun, but they may not be looking at the things you, as a parent, want them to consider.”

There are also companies that coordinate tours of multiple universities in specific regions. This takes the hassle out of the planning and lets you concentrate on the school visits.

Stuckey said she never did more than four schools during one trip. “They start to blur in to each
other and it’s hard to keep straight.” She recommends taking lots of pictures, especially by specific landmarks and school signs so when you get back home they can help you remember the campus.

Virtual Tours and Social Media

Obviously, not everyone can afford the time or money to visit every school. Fortunately, the Internet and social media are great resources to learn about schools in the comfort of your own home. Every university has a website. Some offer virtual tours. You can also check out their Facebook page and mobile apps, as well as Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn accounts. Students often post videos of school events, tours of dorms, etc., and many student groups have their own Facebook page.

“If they cannot physically tour the school, then it is extremely important that they read all that they can from different sources about the school,” said Charles Basden, Jr., coordinator, special projects, for George Washington University, a member of the NobleHour Network.  “Many schools are developing virtual tours and online portals that seek to emulate the on campus tour feel. I would suggest creating a Google news alert for the schools they are interested in.”

In addition, Basden recommends reaching out to current students or faculty members through the directory or through student organizations to get a better sense of what campus life is about. Chatting with recent alumni can also provide a helpful perspective.

Photos by Dolly Duplantier

Next time - Part II - Deciding Where to Visit


 

Carrying a Torch for Service: Volunteerism in the Olympic Games

  
  
  

Volunteers are an integral part of the Olympic Games.


This post was written by NobleHour Special Contributor Natasha Derezinski-Choo, a student at Grimsley High School in Greensboro, NC.

The Olympic Games mark an exciting time of fierce competition and teamwork.  Both deep-rooted rivalries and camaraderie accompany the competition and sportsmanship that make the Olympics so special.  It is a time of national pride and of international friendship. Scarcely there comes a time, except during the Olympics, when classes or work will slow and the streets will quiet, but inside the cheers will roar in front of television screens.  For example, many classes and businesses stopped in both countries to witness the heated rivalry in last week’s Canada vs. USA men’s hockey game.  


One does not need to be an athlete to appreciate the Olympics.  Personally, I have not set foot on a track since running for a, thankfully singular, required physical education class. Watching sports on television typically results in my falling asleep, but I make one exception when the Olympics are on.  The Olympics have been a personal fascination of mine since childhood.  As a child I would imitate, albeit clumsily, the figure skaters on the television screen, seeing the Olympic stage as the realization of dreams.  However, Olympic dreams are made possible by more than just athleticism; volunteers facilitate the events, and in many ways volunteerism is a way anyone can make it to the Olympic stage.  


The tradition of volunteerism at the Olympics and Paralympics began in the London 1948 Olympics.  In recent history, 70,000 volunteer “Game Makers” assisted in the London 2012 Summer Olympics, donating 8 million hours of their time to make the games possible.  More than 25,000 volunteers helped at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.  Volunteers come to the Olympics to experience one of the biggest international sporting events, and their hard work reflects what I think is the most important elements of the Olympics: the altruistic spirit that together we can make dreams come true.


This past month in Sochi, 25,000 volunteers helped facilitate the Olympic games from start to finish.  They performed an impressive number of tasks to help the Olympics run smoothly.  In addition to their behind the scenes jobs at each sports event, volunteers in Sochi provided an air of hospitality to guests from around the world. Volunteers were present at airports to welcome guests, helped guests find transportation to their hotels and carried their month’s worth of luggage. They helped direct visitors, greet spectators at events, and ensure events ran on schedule. Brightly clad in the colourful jackets, which were the volunteers’ uniform for the games, they carried out all these jobs with both beaming smiles and excitement.


Sochi Olympic volunteers represent a uniquely young group.  Russian history has not always left space for the culture of volunteerism, and the Olympics represents a new tide of young people willing to come from near and far to give their time to helping others.  The average age of volunteers was 23, with 80 percent of volunteers younger than 30.  Many are university students.  Note that the average age of volunteers in the London 2012 Summer Olympics was 44 and in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was 45. In addition to the exhilarating experience of taking part in the Olympics, these young volunteers have also gained some skills and knowledge from their training prior to the games. Before the Olympics, most people in Sochi did not speak English, but every volunteer underwent basic language training in order to communicate with visitors.  


Volunteers for each Olympic event are selected by an application process.  Hundreds of thousands of applications roll in one to two years in advance.  The process pays special attention to language skills, problem solving, and other skills that might be helpful to facilitating the Olympics.  For example, medical skills may prove advantageous to help run drug screening for athletes.  However, being an Olympic volunteer does not require special skill sets, and volunteerism is a way in which anyone can be part of the Olympics, even if it means simply directing traffic and welcoming guests with a smile.  A large majority of volunteers, regardless of their assignments, reported that the experience of just being in the Olympics was unforgettable.


In Sochi and across Russia, many hope that a culture of volunteerism will continue to thrive after the Olympics.  The Olympic games are one of the best examples of how volunteerism can make an impact on the world.  Although the games have come to a finish for this year, I must say that the team I cheer for the most at each event is the vast team of volunteers.  


In a local sense, you can also take part in the spirit of Olympic volunteerism.  Volunteers are always in need for Special Olympics events in each state. Find opportunities on NobleHour and then come back to log your volunteer hours.

 

Image via Atos International

Alternative Spring Breaks: Tips and Resources

  
  
  

Tips and Resources for Alternative Spring Breaks

Thank you for joining us for another “Empowering NobleLeaders” Blog with Dr. Kristin Joos and Liz Harlan.

alternative spring breakGiven that spring break is only a few weeks away for many students, today we hope to offer some advice to help you encourage students to participate in, as well as prepare for, alternative spring break trips centered on service. Service trips can be both personally transforming and potentially life-changing experiences for students. They need guidance in finding and preparing for such “alternative spring breaks.” Here are some tips to promote spring break service trips to students, inform them of the lasting benefits, and prepare them to get the most out of their (perhaps not so restful) “break.”

Alternative spring breaks are both a way to do meaningful work as well as step out of one’s comfort zone. Research is helpful when exploring the various options and programs. Students should be encouraged to consider their passions and interests, the time and travel commitment, cost and qualifications needed for each option. For college students, their community-service or student leadership centers/offices are often great resources for finding spring break volunteer opportunities that are both affiliated with the school or are in the surrounding area. Programs and trips offered through a university are sometimes free, or inexpensive as they are often subsidized by the college. For example, here at the University of Florida, our Center for Leadership & Service is organizing 11 different spring break trips for 2014, three of which are international, focusing on a variety of different social and environmental issues.

Students can also look for spring break opportunities on their own--we recommend both online searches and word of mouth. Religious centers, like churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples can also be great resources for service trips both locally and abroad. Typically, one does not have to be a member in order to participate in their activities. Campus Compact is a fabulous organization that promotes campus-based civic engagement, public and community service to develop students’ citizenship skills, and provides tools and training for faculty to empower their students. Additionally, they have an initiative and search engine for Global Citizenship opportunities that is a great tool for both students and faculty/staff/administrators.

alternative spring break beach cleanupEncourage students to explore the resources around them when searching for something to do over spring break. With some effort, students can find opportunities that provide both a fun and productive week, a new vehicle for their interests, a way to meet friends and network with others, and the opportunity to make a difference. I (Liz) traveled to the surrounding areas of Tegucigalpa, Honduras during the spring break of my Sophomore year with the Emory University Medical chapter of Global Brigades, a student-led nonprofit health and sustainable organization aimed at holistic development in Honduras, Panama, and Ghana. There are more than 6,000 volunteers from 100 university chapters from the United States, in addition to Canada and Europe, that organize and participate in trips, or “brigades,” with programs focused on architecture, business, dental, environmental, human rights, medical, microfinance, public health, or water. I was able to practice my Spanish, raise funds for needed medicine and supplies, obtain a leadership position for my second trip as a junior, and eventually receive a letter of recommendation for Medical School from our club faculty advisor. My entire experience with Global Brigades was safe, impactful, and resulted in many friendships, networking connections, and meaningful memories. The benefits from service trips are widespread and inevitable. If your students have the opportunity to do a service trip abroad, they should take advantage!

Tips for preparation:

  • Encourage your students to connect with supervisors, faculty advisors, or leading students before the trip as it is very helpful to engage in team-building activities prior to the start of the trip.  Valuable information about the volunteer location (especially if in a foreign country), what to bring and pack, travel arrangements if applicable, and the volunteers’ duties is very useful to have several months prior to spring break. If student’s service trip is domestic, there is even greater reason to explore the location as it would be easier to become familiar with the route, surroundings, and community beforehand. At some schools, student participants and/or site-leaders enroll in courses the semester prior to or the semester of their spring break trip in order to devote time in their busy schedules to important preparation.
  • The lasting impact of a volunteer experience can suffer without proper reflection before, during, and after. It is important for a student to set goals for their trip’s experience, even if it just to keep an open mind and write in their journal every night. There are many ways and vehicles to reflect, through photo’s and video’s (with the organizations permission first), journal writing, jotting down daily notes and observations, and sharing stories with classmates and teachers once spring break is over. Preparing and guiding a student to constantly reflect is critical for students to live in the moment while securing the lasting benefits of their transformative service. We will talk more about the importance of service reflections (and offer tips for best practices) in our next post.
  • Encourage an open mind and community-awareness with students preparing to spend spring break doing service. The week-long experience allows for increased immersion, continual reflection, and a potentially greater impact due to the length of time. Emphasizing open-mindedness and cultivating an attitude of curiosity are key for students about to undertake the service trip adventure. Having knowledgeable anticipation can lead to a fulfilling, organized, and productive end-result.

Resources

Information for students or faculty who want to create new alternative spring break experiences found at www.serve.gov.

America’s Natural & Cultural Resources Volunteer Portal- www. volunteer.gov/gov.

United Way lets college students spend spring break in Biloxi, MS in the United Way National Alternative Spring Break experience program.

Habitat for Humanity With their Collegiate Challenge, college students work during spring break helping to eliminate poverty housing.

Cross Cultural Solutions lets students immerse themselves in a variety of life changing experiences across the globe. Insight Abroad is their one-week trip program.

Projects Abroad provides students with meaningful spring break experiences in project areas ranging from construction to performing arts to archeology.

IERCEF- North Carolina database of study abroad service programs for students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the state.

NobleHour - empowers students to connect with their communities. Currently there are no specfic “Alternative Spring Break” service opportunities, but there are many listings that students could engage in over their break, creating their own experience.

What are your plans for spring break?

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