Students in USD 202 AVID courses complete student-led community service projects each semester.
Education provides opportunities to learn beyond the classroom, and for students in the AVID program, learning extends to the importance of giving back to one's community. AVID, a college and career readiness program, has been integral in classroom success at the secondary level since it was first adopted three years ago. Beyond academic success, the program has a strong community component.
"As part of the AVID elective, students complete community service hours each year to help support college entrance requirements and gain an understanding of the impact they have within the community around them," said Ms. Gigstead, who teaches AVID at the high school.
These community service projects are a requirement of the curriculum. Overall, the AVID curriculum focuses on three student outcomes: Student Agency, Academic Preparedness, and Opportunity Knowledge. The community service component falls under the Student Agency outcome. By the time an AVID student reaches their senior year, they should be able to, "Act as a globally and digitally aware, responsible, and contributing citizen and Evaluate the impact of decisions on others and the world."
The community service projects are student led from start to finish. Before deciding what the class community service project would be, each student chooses something they would like to do for community service. They then research their option, reach out to a contact person for more details, and create a presentation or pitch to give to the class. Based on those presentations, the class voted on which community service projects they were most interested in.
Many students in Ms. Bauer's AVID class had not done community service before, but after their experience at KC Farm School, they were already talking about going back. Students spoke about how great it felt to be solution-oriented. "Through community service, students are able to conduct inquiry about problems in their community that need help/solving, and they are able to be part of those solutions through collaboration and team work," said Bauer.
About their Care Bear Packages project, student Melany said, "[I hope] that our next community service project will be as successful and impactful."
AVID 10 Community Service Project: KC Farm School at Gibbs Road
Student Princess Horton's pitch to volunteer at KC Farm School received the most votes from her classmates. They visited the farm in January and helped fertilize and water trees, picked up trash alongside the road, gathered food for the chickens, and learned about urban farming and sustainable food sources. The students had not been to the farm before and enjoyed learning more about this local organization!
AVID 9 Community Service Project: Care Bear Packages
The winning projects for AVID 9 were to help the houseless and work in a soup kitchen. To support the houseless, students created “Care Bear Packages” for those in need. They determined what they wanted to include in these packages, how they would gather the items, offset the costs for the items and distribute the finished product. In addition to fundraising, they worked with Shawnee Drive Community of Christ and Pantry of Hope to get donations of bags, blankets, food, and several hygiene items. Once students assembled the bags, Caring Community Connections helped distributed them to community members in need.