Service Learning & Volunteer Work

What's We Do

Services learning activities is a way of giving back to the community. For individuals with disabilities, who may not be able to work 40-hour work weeks or may not be able to work due to other complications, service learning offers a dual purpose: (1) to be able to give back to the community and (2) to be involved in volunteer work and social activities that offer extended days and/or additional opportunities within the week, month, and year.

Students from the 18+ program are engaged in service learning activities at the City/community Food Bank and at the Animal Care Center. Some students are involved in volunteer work that is an individual or family endeavor while others are involved in activities organized by their church.  Whatever the source, it is invaluable for students with disabilities as they lose the social network of the public school and seek to fill the gap with social networks within the adult world.

18+ staff developed the service learning sites. There is an on-going effort to help 18+ students connect with opportunities for volunteer work and social opportunities. To develop the service learning sites, one of the more common frameworks used by districts is the framework developed by Students in Service to America (2003), which was designed for students with moderate to severe disabilities. The following matrix includes the 10-step process for site and activity development.




1. Assess resources and needs of your community and school

Students with moderate to severe disabilities rarely have the opportunity to plan their learning activities and how they will contribute to their community. Involve the students in the planning. They may select a new activity or they may partner with a high school key club or a community Lion’s Club as a volunteer in volunteer activities.

2. Develop community partnerships

Seek the assistance of community organizations, churches, or non-profit organizations to identify needs in your community. They may be able to call senior citizens to remind them of the Young at Heart Banquet, or help to decorate for the Lion’s Club luncheon for young children with visual impairments going off to summer camp.

3. Set clear education and transition goals

Make sure service learning is an extension of the education goals, the IEP, and/or the transition plan. For example, the student who has a communication IEP may be able to implement it with the banquet reminders. Or serving at the Young at Heart Banquet may assist the student with organizational skills in the IEP or preparing meals as a goal.


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