Service learning is an educational strategy that involves students in meaningful service to their community, while engaging in some form of reflection or study that is related to the service. The idea is that each student would be involved in a service project that would meet the community’s needs and be integrated into the academic curriculum. At St. Ursula Academy, we are striving to have all academic areas be relevant and applicable to student life. Service Learning is one strategy to accomplish this goal.
Some examples of Service Learning Projects at Saint Ursula Academy are:
In the Social Justice Religion course, students visit service sites five times a Quarter in order to connect the Catholic Social Teachings they learn about in the classroom to the struggles of those served by various agencies throughout the great Cincinnati area.
In the Art and Design Department, students connect their classroom ceramics projects with an Empty Bowls event. Empty Bowls is a grassroots movement by artists and crafts people in cities and towns around the world to care for and feed the hungry in their communities. Each year, the art students from SUA’s Ceramics Class host an Empty Bowls Event at which their ceramic bowls are donated for proceeds to benefit a local non-profit in the Cincinnati Area.
The AP English Literature and Composition class will complete a Service Learning Project focused on mental health care and access to funding. Students will have the opportunity to choose from subtopics related to mental health and work in small groups to research global and local connections to find out more about their topics and analyze the issues in connection to the literary work. Then they will work on an impact project for an individual agency determining the specific needs of their agency, and writing a grant for the agency.
In our AP Human Geography class students volunteer at local community gardens each Spring to wrap up their unit on Hunger and Food Insecurity. Students then complete written reflections that make connections between the local/global topic(s) and learn about one’s self, one’s team, community, and the larger environment.