Community Service and Service Learning
Colleges want to know how you have spent your time in high school. Did you work, play sports, create music and art, help your family, study hard or contribute to your community? Sometimes low-content activity charts indicate that maybe you were just sitting around playing video games or hanging out on facebook. Schools generally appreciate students who have a wider range of interests and have demonstrated that they are willing to share their gifts with the wider community.
Community Service (CS): Volunteering in your community to help people, organizations, agencies make the community a better place.
Service Learning (SL): Making community service into a learning opportunity, as part of a larger unit of study. Students might participate with a group or they may create their own SL project.
Why: I often tell students that all citizens have the responsibility to use their gifts to contribute to making the world a better place. It is never too early to start. It is an excellent opportunity to integrate classroom learning in the community.
If a student also wants to use his /her experience as a resume builder, taking initiative and creating a new project or taking major responsibility within an existing agency show a greater level of commitment than doing a job that someone else has thought of. Obviously, we need people to take all roles to get all the work done that is needed in the world.
Where: Ideally, find a place that inspires your passion! You might want to volunteer at several places until you find a place that seems to really “fit” you. Start with your interests, but don’t be limited by them. You may find a new passion that you would have never dreamed of! Listen to the daily bulletin announcements for opportunities. Search the internet for non-profit organizations in Portland in your area of interest, i.e. animals, environment, politics, social services, business, construction, et cetera. Pick an activity to which you can devote yourself and where you can deepen your skills. This can also be an opportunity to learn about another culture, in your own city! You can learn how others solve problems and also how some people only have resources to just survive. Research the agency prior to calling. It’s important to know something about the organization, before you volunteer.
Results: Learn to talk and write about your experience. What were your challenges? How did you change? How were you able to take initiative? How was your passion inspired?
Warning: Here are a few ideas of places to serve; check them out to see if they are right for you. I have not personally checked out these agencies. Talk to your parents, teachers and counselors if anything seems odd or uncomfortable in any situation.
General volunteer search options:
The Willamette Week alternative newspaper publishes a Give Guide every year before the winter holidays. They list many non-profits who need volunteers as well as donors. Check out their current guide for ideas of more non-profit organizations: GiveGuide!
Congressional Service Award: Apply online, preferably early in your high school career. If you are willing to set goals and document your participation in four areas, you can earn this prestigious award. www.congressionalaward.org
Friends Library Store, 801 SW 10th, 503.988,5911, firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland Art Center, 32 NW 5th Ave, 503.236.3322, www.portlandart.org
Theatre companies: Portland Center Stage, Third Rail Repertory, Artists Repertory, Interstate Cultural Theatre, Firehouse Theatre, Tears of Joy Theatre, etc.
Hollywood Theatre, hollywoodtheatre.org/volunteer/
Independent Publishing Resource Center, www.iprc.org
KBOO Radio, kboo.fm
Oregon Public Broadcasting, www.opb.org
PDX POP Now, www.pdxpopnow.com
Vibe of Portland, www.vibeofportland.com
Animal Aid, www.animalaidpdx.org , 503.292.6628
Humane Society, www.oregonhumane.org, 503.285.2277
PAW Team, www.pawteam.org, 503.535.3844
Cat Adoption Team, www.catadoptionteam.org, 503.925.8903
Dove Lewis, www.dovelewis.org, 503.535.3394.
Feral Cat Coalition, www.feralcats.com, 503.797.2606
Pixie Project, www.pixieproject.org, 503.542.3432
Community Warehouse, www.communitywarehouse.org, 503.235.8786
Growing Gardens, www.growinggardens.org, 503.284.8420
Outside In, www.OutsideIn.org, 503.535.3867
Q Center, www.pdxqcenter.org, 503.234.7837
Write Around Portland, www.writearound.org, 503.796.9224
Giving Tree, www.thegivingtreenw.org, 503.280.9068
Community Cycling Center, www.CommunityCyclingCenter.org, 503.288.8864
Neighborhood House, www.nhweb.org, 503.246.1663x101
Oregon Food Bank, www.oregonfoodbank.org, 503.972.2993
Children’s Relief Nursery, www.crn4kids.org, 503.283.4776
Big Brothers, Big Sisters, www.bbbsnorthwest.org, 503.249.4859
Habitat for Humanity, www.habitatoregon.org, 503.798.9994
Bark, www.bark-out.org, 503.331.0374
Friends of Trees, www.friendsoftrees.org, 503.282.8846x17
Oregon Wild, www.oregonwild.org, 503.283.6343
Rebuilding Center, www.rebuildingcenter.org, 503.445.1756
Scrap, www.scrapaction.org, 503.503.294.0769
Tryon Creek State Park, www.tryonfriends.org
Leach Botanical Garden, www.leachgarden.org, 503.823.9503
Student Conservation Association, www.thesca.org
Plastics recycling, www.masterrecycler.org
Adopt a Road, 503.988.3582
American Red Cross, www.oregonredcross.org
Living Yoga, www.living-yoga.org, 503.546.1269
North by Northeast Community Health Center, www.nxneclinic.org, 503.287.4932
Local hospitals all have volunteer programs.
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, www.oregonpsr.org, 503.274.2720
Planned Parenthood, www.ppcw.org, 503.280.6150
Wallace Medical Concern, www.wallacemedical.org, 503.489.1760x25
Volunteer at local elementary and middle schools.
Offer to tutor other high school students in your strong subjects.
SMART, www.getsmartoregon.org, 503.937.4800
Friends of the Children, www.friendsofthechildren.org/portland, 503.281.6633
Chess for Success, www.chessforsuccess.org, 503.295.1230
Ethos Music Center, www.ethos.org, 503.283.8467
Free Geek, www.freegeek.org, 503.232.9350
American Friends Service Committee, www.afsc.org/pacificnw/portland, 503.230.9427
Sisters of the Road, www.sistersoftheroad.org, 503.222.5694
Center for Intercultural Organizing, www.interculturalorganizing.org, 503.287. 4117
Bicycle Transportation Alliance, www.bta4bikes.org, 503.226.0676
Bikes to Rwanda, email@example.com
Butterfly Boxes-provides basic supplies to new refugees, http://www.butterflyboxespdx.org/
Seek out opportunities with locally, regionally or nationally elected officials. Be prepared with a resume detailing your interests and experiences.
Bus Project Foundation, www.busproject.org, 503.233.3018