Students Reap the Rewards of Service
Students in 85 different courses every year have an opportunity to serve their community while earning college credits. For the students, the rewards are greater than just earning credit. For some it is a transformative experience that leads to a longstanding commitment to community service. Here are some excerpts from journals kept by students as part of their service learning experience
"I did not know what I was getting into when I decided to involve myself in the Service Learning Program at Raritan Valley Community College. I planned on getting a few volunteer hours under 'my belt' in order to complete the requirements of the program. In addition to completing the requirements, I thought I might gain some insight into a future college major and eventually a career. Well, I did more than just gain some insight; I found a future. As a result of completing the program and learning the details of a new occupation, I have never felt so secure of my current and future plans."
Service Learner - Environmental Science Course
"In the beginning, I felt great apprehension. I wasn't sure if I was qualified enough to be an assistant to the Spanish bi-lingual teacher. I asked myself questions like, 'Will the children accept me?', 'Am I going to be helpful to the teacher, Mrs. Dominquez?', 'Will I know enough Spanish to communicate?' in the middle of the semester, I started to connect with the children. I could tell Luis and Estaban started to trust me because they no longer sought Mrs. Dominquez's help (attention) while I was there. Also, the other children in the classroom became confident at the same time. In the final weeks when I entered the room, several students would rush to my side and ask for assistance. This was quite gratifying as I made the transition from the outsider to the accepted helper. It was a great learning experience. Through my experience, I am going to look into being an ESL teacher. Thank you for this opportunity."
Service Learner - Spanish II Course
"The Service Learning Program not only touched my life personally, it touched my professional career goals. During two semesters at Raritan Valley Community College, I was encouraged to participate in this novel and innovative program called Service Learning. The Program's aims and goals included serving the community in conjunction with the academic course work. This resourceful combination allows the students to maximize their classroom understanding in a practical realm. Students gain experience and serviceable skills while participating in volunteer work. The volunteer work helps others while enriching the individual's character. Community service programs like Service Learning not only enlightened my values and perceptions, it changed my career choice. Since leaving Raritan Valley Community College, I enrolled in the Social Work Program at Rutgers University. I firmly believe that the Service Learning Program encouraged a greater awareness about the struggle of others. It is an outstanding program that deserves recognition."
Service Learner - English I and II Courses