Service Learning General Guidelines
- You may not select projects at community sites where they are already employed; nor should you choose sites where you would report to family members or provide service to family members.
- JCCC Service-Learning students are not permitted to do independent, unsupervised projects for individuals in their homes. As an example, it would be commendable for you to help your elderly neighbor with household chores or errands, but such activities will not qualify for service-learning. Possible exceptions to this rule would be home visits arranged and supervised by your selected community agency/organization, such as social services assessment though the Department of Aging or hospice visits in a home.
- Contact the Community agency/ site for your service hours:
A. Start this process early in the semester (by the second week of class). The person who coordinates the volunteers quite often works part time or is assigned other tasks/responsibilities. Be understanding and sympathetic of their situation, but don’t wait forever for a return call. Usually, there are several agencies which would be able to offer assignments that would meet your class requirements and your personal skills and preference. Be aware, too, that some agencies have rather lengthy processes for applications, interviews, reference checks, and training that must be completed before beginning the service work. Since your service-learning assignment needs to be completed in a relatively short period of time, you may need to consider other options and call another agency.
B. Contact the agency to arrange an interview with their volunteer coordinator to discuss how you can meet your course objective there. Ask for directions if you are not certain of the location of the agency. Find out the name of the person you are to report to and when. If interviews or training are not required at the site you’ve chosen, find out what tasks you will be doing in general terms. By planning ahead, you can be more certain someone will be there who can greet you, show you around and give you assignments. Don’t just show up.
C. During your initial interview or discussion with the agency volunteer coordinator, find out about the agency mission, needs, description of volunteer positions available and expectations or requirements regarding scheduling, training, length of commitment. Identify yourself as a JCCC service-learning student so that the agency better understands your learning goals. Be prepared to explain the course requirements for your service-learning project, your personal skills, interests academic/career objectives and your availability. Only by careful discussion of the needs and preferences of both you and the agency will a mutually beneficial placement be arranged. If you have a letter from your faculty to the agency explaining how service learning is being used for the course, present it at this meeting.
D. State your intentions clearly with the agencies you contact. You may contact more than one community site for information before you make a final selection—that is an important part of the process. However, don’t leave an impression that you will serve at one site if you plan to work at another, or if you haven’t decided yet.
- In case of an unexpected scheduling conflict or emergency, notify the agency contact person as soon as possible. In certain emergencies, you may need to call after the fact—to apologize and to reschedule. Don’t be a no-show.
- If you must quit your service-learning project before your commitment is complete, be sure to contact your supervisor and explain. And if you’ve completed the hours for your class and do not intend to continue to volunteer, remind your supervisor of your plans. Don’t just disappear.
- You are expected to adhere to the JCCC Student Code of Conduct while completing service-learning assignments at community sites and remember that you are a representative of the college. Someone’s impression of the college will likely be shaped by your behavior.
- You are not allowed to plan activities with service recipients beyond the assigned tasks, location and supervision of your chosen community agency or organization for the duration of your service project.
- You may not transport service recipients in their own vehicles. Although discouraged by the JCCC Service-Learning program, any driving for an agency should be done using agency vehicles, and only after appropriate training and careful attention to and understanding of agency liability limits and your legal responsibilities.
- Maintain the confidentiality of the people you meet during your service-learning project. While some situations may be covered by legal restrictions, everyone deserves respect. Many service-learning students will be dealing with circumstances which might be awkward, embarrassing, or even dangerous to the individuals involved, if their names were to be used carelessly. Some groups, such as children, have strict protection in this regard. Students often use first names or fictitious names when referring to service-recipients. Ask for specific guidelines from your community agency if they are not provided during your interview or training sessions.
- Papers written in the course of class assignments are not to be published or used outside the campus community, so as not to infringe upon "human subject research" restrictions and guidelines as described/defined/articulated institutionally or federally. To take photographs or videos, you must have written permission by all subjects or their guardians, and by the agency.
The restrictions listed above are intended to protect you, as a volunteer, from some potential risks involving injury to you or your liability in injury to others, accusations of misconduct, impropriety or dishonesty which might be difficult to prove or disprove in the absence of supervisors or co-workers
If you have specific questions or problems, contact your instructor or Mary Smith, Service-Learning Coordinator, (913) 469-8500, ext. 3570