Community Service Events Planning
Community service is an ongoing part of life at FSA and involves students, parents, faculty and staff. We combine hands-on community service projects for all ages with service learning in our curriculum. The Service Events Committee plans whole-school community service events and provides curricula and materials to teachers, to support service learning as an important component of the curriculum.
The Service Events Committee meets at FSA regularly. Meetings are on the calendar in the Late Quaking News, the school's weekly newsletter. Meetings are weekday mornings. We realize that not everyone wishing to participate in planning can meet then, and encourage all interested people to email email@example.com and ask to be placed on the email list for committee minutes and news.
Community Service at FSA
The long-term focus of whole-school community service at FSA is on homelessness. FSA seeks to establish long-term relationships with organizations where there is a good "fit" with the testimonies of our school and the goal of combining service with a service learning curriculum—and including many opportunities for hands-on involvement for students of all ages.
Please check FSA's calendar and the Late Quaking News (look under "Publications") for upcoming service projects.
Service learning is an important component of our school curriculum. As a resource to our teachers and to others interested service learning, we have compiled a list of lesson plans and other resources.
- What is service learning, anyway? The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse defines it as "a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities."
- These notes from FSA faculty/staff development on the topic gives a great overview of the topic. We also came up with a list of things to consider when incorporating service learning into our curriculum.
- The Atlanta Food Bank provides a curriculum called "Hunger 101" on their website. It is divided into two modules, one for all ages and one best suited to 4th grade and up. The Fook Bank also offers two games to help increase awareness of food security issues, The Community Food Game for all ages (downloadable) and Feast or Famine for ages 8–14 (sold online for $30).
- Catholic Charities of Baltimore offers curricula and materials for teaching about Hunger, Homelessness and Poverty/Social Justice. The lesson plans are divided into these main headings, and subdivided into plans for elementary students, middle–high school students, and college students—adults. There are lots of links to reference materials within the lesson plans, and there is a "call to action" for each age group.
- The Community Works Institute. This site is focused on the educator as a change agent. Multiple professional development workshops, an E-newsletter and a bookstore offer resources for educators as they develop skills to implement service-learning as an instructional strategy. The mission of the CWI is to promote sustainable service-learning across diverse settings. The site offers ways for teachers to receive feedback and support for ongoing projects, reflection and connectivity through Facebook.
- Facing the Future's "Service Learning" page of the Facing the Future website focuses on the three major elements of service learning and links to key research studies and resources on service learning. This website contains curriculum materials, programming, and resources for educators. The site's mission is to enable students to think critically and develop a global perspective by providing educators with positive solutions for meeting student needs.
- Fly Away Home GPN is still offering materials from Reading Rainbow. One set of lesson plans is for this book by Eve Bunting and Ronald Himler. This is a book about a boy and his father, who live in an airport. It is suitable for ages 5–8.
- Generation On! Lesson plans, training, and resources that incorporate service-learning. This is a community of kids, parents, teachers, and schools and is free to join. There are curricula that address specific projects. Highly recommended. The site provides a searchable database of lesson plans.
- Good Character is somewhat "overwhelming" or "content-rich" as the publisher states. It does, however, give a "context" for service learning in terms of initiatives that foster affective student development (school to work, counseling education, character education, etc.). The Service Learning tab gives three additional resource links to lesson plans, project examples and web resources.
- Hands on Atlanta helps people find service opportunities as they present themselves. This is simple community service. It’s up to the teacher to create these opportunities as service-learning by integrating into curriculum. Here’s the calendar of opportunities. You can use the “filters” to select opportunities based on age group.
- Hear Us has the mission of giving voice and visibility to children experiencing homelessness. They offer books, blogs, films, YouTube videos, news items, and other resources to help people understand homelessness. They also provide a free discussion guide for the film On the Edge (see below). Books available for purchase include Crossing the Line, Where Can I Build My Volcano?, A Family of Five or Six, and A Place of Our Own.
- iCivics is not a service-learning website, per se. It is about government and how to be an active citizen. It could be a useful complement to service-learning because it teaches about the systems of government and policy that impact and guide our service and leadership. Great online games and resources. Highly recommended.
- The Josephson Institute's Character Counts is a a character education program offered by The Josephson Institute. They offer a lesson plan bank covering many topics. Some pertinent to service learning may be found under several of the topics offered. One of these is appropriate for students aged 11–13 and is located under "Citizenship." It is called Addressing Community Problems. Another under the same topic is appropriate for students aged 9–11 years and is called Lunch-Bag Supply Drive.
- K-12 Service Learning Standards for Quality Practice: An Annotated Bibliography is a collection of research articles is organized by standard (duration and intensity, link to curriculum, partnerships, meaningful service, youth voice, diversity, reflection and progress monitoring) and each section is divided into four parts: description of the standard, articles discussing application to the standard, educational research supporting the standard and references.
- Learn and Serve America’s National Service-Learning Clearinghouse is the homepage for America’s most comprehensive service-learning resource for Learn and Serve America and The Corporation for National and Community Service. It includes templates, forms, toolkits, research summaries, and many other resources. Highly recommended. The site provides a searchable database of lesson plans.
- Learning to Give provides lessons and resources that teach giving, volunteerism, civic engagement and character through service learning. Primarily focused to K-12 with lessons on financial literacy, disaster relief and philanthropy, it does have information on college programs such as C.O.O.L. (Campus Outreach Opportunity League)
- The Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless offers curricula and materials on their website, divided into sections for grades K–3, 4–6 and 7–9. They provide these because children are the fastest-growing segment of people experiencing homelessness, and families with children constitute 40 percent of this population. They hope to dispel myths about homelessness and increase knowledge. They grant unlimited use of their materials when used for eductional purposes.
- The National Service Learning Partnership was created in 2001 out of a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and State Farm Foundation and sponsored by the Academy for Educational Development. The site is divided to connect, organize and sponsor service learning discussion (blog), implementation (resources) and celebrations (awards). Publishers of Information for Action: A Journal for Research on Service-Learning for Children and Youth.
- The website of the the National Youth Leadership Council website features entry level information, basic definitions of service learning, ready-made resource sheets (toolbox), and an electronic newsletter; includes examples of service learning projects, research, networking and events.
- My Own Four Walls is a series of short documentaries depicting homelessness through the eyes of children and teens in areas outside cities. It was filmed and produced by HEARUS, a nonprofit organization dedicated to giving a voice to children, youth and families who are experiencing homelessness.
- On the Edge is a film about seven women trying to escape homelessness in small towns and resort communities, mixed with interviews of experts who address legal, policital and social difficulties that make this escape difficult. The film's website offers biographical information about each of the seven women, filmmaker biographies, and trailers for both On the Edge and My Own Four Walls. You can also download an order form to purchase a copy of the film.
- Research in Service Learning's Publishing Opportunities Resource List is a resource list created in 2007 by Gary Homana as part of the Emerging Scholars in K-12 Service Learning Seminar at University of Maryland hosted by CIRCLE: The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. The list gives 93 potential research publishers including description, editor, website URL and e-mail contact information.
- The Youth Innovation Fund "subsite" of the Service Learning partnership focuses on the Youth Funds established in 2003 as a way to encourage teenagers to improve their communities and become agents of positive social change. Nine sites were funded by AED and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and provide a cross-linked network of resources to model systematic opportunities for youth empowerment and individual development. The 8 Kellogg funded Youth Fund sites were: Ypsilanti, Michigan: San Francisco, California: Portland, Oregon: Portland, Maine: Nashville, Tennessee: Hampton, Virginia: Cleveland, Mississippi: and Chicago, Illinois.
- Service Learning Hints from Students. These hints for service were given by students at another Friends school: Make space available in your facility for other groups in the community; Serve on boards and other groups, to share your gifts with others in the community; Do service where it is needed and wanted; Serve where interests lie, and give choices; Start community service early, even as early as pre-K; Develop a long-term relationship with organizations, to ensure that the service is meaningful to both the organization and the volunteers.
Volunteer Opportunities/Helping People Experiencing Homelessness
- The American Youth Council. The American Youth Council, located at Cumberland Community Church, 3110 Sports Ave., Smyrna, GA 30080, needs volunteers to prepare the facility, activities and gifts for "Holiday For Hope" Christmas party for 5000 Homeless Children to be held December 11. Children from 10–14 are welcome to participate when a parent or adult guardian accompanies them. Children from 15–17 are welcome to participate with permission of a parent/guardian through a completed and signed Application Form. Parental permission will be verified with the parent/guardian. Community service letters provided upon request. To sign up, visit website and click the email link, or call Martha or Michael at 770-565-9305 at the American Youth Council.
- Atlanta Children's Shelter offers day care to families experiencing homelessness, including food, clothing, immunizations, field trips and education. There are many service opportunities for volunteers aged 12 and older. (Volunteers under age 17 must be accompanied by an adult.) Needs include reading to children, playing with children, assisting in classrooms, helping in the office, helping with the Strides of March 5K run/walk, field trip chaperones and much more.
- The Atlanta Community Food Bank needs volunteers to sort, inspect and prepare various food items, health related goods and beauty items for distribution to local non-profit agencies who will then pass them along to needy families. Volunteers must be at least 8 years old and be accompanied by a person over the age of 18. The job requires the ability to lift 20–40 pounds, and you must be able to stand for long periods of time. Shifts last 3 hours and you must commit to work the entire 3 hour shift. Promptness matters so do not show up late for this opportunity. Click the SIGN UP button for the date/time you want to volunteer. Follow the prompts for creating an account on their website and then continue with the volunteer sign up process. If you have additional questions, contact Suzanne Roush.
- Central Presbyterian Church. Central Presbyterian Church runs a men's night shelter and provides dinner, sack lunches and sack breakfasts. They also run a foot clinic, where volunteers provide pedicures, massage and medical attention to various cuts, funguses and infections. They welcome people who will provide any of these meals and serve dinner. They also need donations of various toiletries and over-the-counter cold, fever and pain relief medicines.
- Crossroads Community Ministries offers meals and a stabilization program, as well as help for people with physical or mental disabilities. Volunteer opportunities include working in the kitchen or mail room, fundraising and food drives for the kitchen, sandwich making, and collections of book bags and backpacks.
- The Decatur Cooperative Ministry offers emergency shelter for women with children, long-term transitional housing for families with children, bill payment to avoid foreclosure or eviction, and food for households at risk of hunger. Volunteer opportunities include childcare provider, homework helper, office assistant, tech center tutor, dinner volunteer, client mentor, financial literacy instructor, and many more. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.
- DEAM (Decatur-area Emergency Assistance Ministry) operates out of local donated church spaces to ease hunger and help with utilities and eviction issues.
- The Gateway Center offers many services to help people move out of homelessness. Their Client Engagement Center offers showers, toilets, clothing, telephone, coin-operated laundry, and other essential services. They also run two Stabilization Programs, one for women and children and one for men, that offer short-term beds and food to people experiencing homelessness. Other services include training support, mental health services, and recuperative care. Help is needed from corporations, individuals and groups, and the faith community. Volunteer opportunities include website design and development, children's study hall, hosting birthday parties, job and interview training, mentoring, art projects, IT support, and special drives for toiletries and food.
- The Genesis Shelter helps infants and their families, providing healthy surroundings and a nurturing environment. Volunteer opportunities include supervising play groups, rocking babies, kids' crafts, supply closet organization, meal donation and serving, dessert donation and serving, room painting, working at fundraising events, and hosting a supply drive.
- Home Aid Atlanta. The mission of HomeAid Atlanta is to build and maintain housing where temporarily homeless families and individuals can rebuild their lives. You can help by becoming a sponsor or participating in one-day, hands-on projects. These projects include making minor repairs and cosmetic upgrades under the supervision of a team captain. Learn more by visiting and clicking on "Get Involved."
- IC Shrine's Night Shelter program wants families to prepare and serve meals over the winter months. Click Parish Outreach, for a long list of opportunities, then click each individual listing. Interested families can send an email to .
- The Initiative for Affordable Housing owns and manages affordable housing units in the Atlanta area. Their objective is to help stabiliza families and enable them to again become self-sufficient members of the community. Volunteer opportunities include office help, coordinating donation pickups, sorting and delivering donated items, playing games with seniors, and preparing a house for a family experiencing homelessness (includes light carpentry). Volunteers are also needed to landscape outside homes, teach beginner computer skills, and videotaping practice job interviews.
- Kashi Atlanta's feed the hungry program has date specific opportunities. They offer multiple opportunities, including an outreach program to feed the hungry, a care team to provide meals for ill persons and a kids art program where art projects are taken to local children's hospitals.
- Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. The Task Force offers many services. They run a 24-hour hotline that serves as the first contact with many people experiencing homelessness. They offer outreach, an emergency overflow shelter, and assistance in finding jobs and affordable housing. There are many ways that you can support the Task Force, including volunteering, donating desperately-needed items such as toilet paper or MARTA cards, or speaking up on legislative issues that affect the people they serve. If you are interested in volunteering, please email.
- The Nicholas House helps families experiencing homelessness to become self-sufficient by offering a structures, home-like environment and assisting with jobs and healthcare. Volunteer opportunities include promoting the organization, hosting fundraisers, and sponsoring fundraisers such as bake sales, yard sales, etc.
- The Open Door Community. The Open Door Community aids people experiencing homelessness by serving meals; providing showers and clothing; running a medical and foot clinic; and advocating for marginalized groups. They need volunteers to serve meals; give out towels, meals and toiletries; contribute sandwiches; prepare main dishes, salads and vegetables; care for feet; answer phones; and donate a variety of items.
- The Cathedral of St. Philip. St. Philips has a variety of programs that address homelessness and other needs. It provides help to the ministry at Peachtree Pine; has participated in Habitat for Humanity projects; and holds a yearly Requiem for the Homeless in honor of those who have experience homelessness and those who have died homeless during the year.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
- The DeKalb Public Library needs volunteers to help keep the library looking nice. Duties involve cleaning books, watering plants, replacing books on shelves, recycling paper and straightening magazines. Volunteers need to be 14 years of age to volunteer on their own; groups of younger children are welcome to assist with special assignments for library programs. For group opportunities or questions, the contact is the Volunteer Services Coordinator, Chichi Davis, at 404-370-8450.
- The Georgia Radio Reading Service is a nonprofit that serves Georgians who are blind or vision-impaired by broadcasting over the radio or Internet streaming. Volunteers read assigned selections for broadcast, and must pass an interview and audition before volunteering their voices. The audition is a "cold reading," so good sight-reading and pronunciation skills are important. To find out more about volunteering for the Georgia Radio Reading Service, Inc. (GaRRS) or to schedule an audition, please call or email Bettye Harris, Director of Volunteer Services, 404-685-2823, .
- MedShare. Volunteers typically work to sort and package surplus medical supplies to be sent overseas. The sorting sessions are three hours long and happen in the sort room of the Decatur facility, which is heated and air conditioned. Sessions are from 9am to noon, and from 1pm to 4pm Tuesday through Friday. There will be Saturday sessions starting in January. (This might be a good choice for days when FSA is closed and families are looking for things to do). Volunteers must be at least 10 years old with direct supervision or 14 years of age or older to volunteer on their own. An orientation is performed at the beginning of the session, so punctuality is important. If you would like to volunteer as an individual, please simply note your availability for the days you would like to sort with us and we will plan to have you in at those times. For group inquiries (five or more), contact Lead Volunteer Coordinator, Elizabeth Haskell, at firstname.lastname@example.org. or 770-323-5858 ext 222. Sign Up!
- The Metro Atlanta YMCA - Carl E. Sanders Family YMCA at Buckhead Gardener Volunteer (Atlanta) needs volunteers to maintain vegetable and fruit community gardens. They are located at 1160 Moores Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30327. Help needed anytime through February 10, 2012. Good opportunity for the entire family. (This might be a good choice for days when FSA is closed and families are looking for things to do together.) All ages welcome. To sign up, email Courtney Severson
- The Push Push Theatre is an award-winning community theatre that also offers artistic process workshops, film making programs and youth performance programs for ages 6–18. Volunteers are needed to help maintain the facility, contents and grounds. Voluntters also help set up props, costumes, art supplies, scenery and all things associated with film making, theater production, story writing, and acting. Volunteers are needed the last Saturday of every month, 10am–1pm. Individuals or groups are welcome. To sign up for this opportunity, please call Aimee McCoy (Youth Program Assistant) or Tim Habeger (Producing Artistic Director) at 404-377-6332
- Volunteer Match allows you to search by region, age group and area of focus, to find a community service project. Ideas range from gardening to providing snack after 5k races, which smaller kids could do. What a wonderful way to convey to your student the importance of community service!
- The Winship Cancer Institute 5K Race needs volunteers for the cheering station, and to provide food/water to runners and help with setup/breakdown of the course. Prospective volunteers must call DaVida Lee-Williams at 404-778-2405 ASAP to register.