I selected outlining a Service Learning course or components within a course for my course project in Strategies for Adult Learning course, in the Masters in Adult Learning program, I am taking at Empire State College (ESC). I have always had an interest in community service, and for the longest time thought the two were pretty much the same thing. I came to realize it was close, but they are not the same. In 2010, while pursuing my Bachelor’s degree, I took Community and Social Informatics through ESC. It was a course I accidentally came across while taking Digital Storytelling. As an avid volunteer in the community, I thought this was a perfect class to take. Each year, I already participated in my community’s food drive. My community service was distribute flyers announcing the drive, go door to door to pick up donations, sort items and then deliver baskets at the holidays. Lesson learned? More of a heartwarming one than an educational one (not that I would ever underestimate value of community service!).
When I took this course, I had a larger lesson not in the planning, but in what the needs actually were … and it was staggering. I conducted interviews with the Director of the Northeast Regional Food Bank and the Volunteer Director of the Green Island Food Pantry. I learned about how to volunteer with the organizations, how they raise funds/where the funds come from, this history of both, and how the contribution of time and money from the community goes a long way in making a difference in a family’s life. At the Food Bank level was that from 2007 to 2010 the need placed on the bank rose over 24% from 18 million pounds of food to over 24 million pounds of food. At Green Island’s food pantry, I saw a need to use technology to promote the food drive. I started a Facebook page, which was used to let people know about and remind them the day of the food drive to put donations out.
I also created a video to promote and encourage others to do their own food drive: