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The Faces of Community Education – Part 7

Service Learning

The Service Learning programs provide opportunities for students to impact our community through volunteerism. Students gain confidence and skills while recognizing their roles as contributing members of their community. Our hope is that students will embrace the concept of service before self throughout their lives.

Rosemary Brandt, District Service Learning Coordinator, 4 years

I started working for Community Education in the fall of 2009 when I was hired as the Valley Southwoods Service Learning Coordinator. In the summer of 2011, I was hired as Community Education’s Service Learning Coordinator, and I am responsible for the 3rd grade Read to Me Program, the WDMCS Heart Connection collection, and Seniors Come Home. I also supervise the Service Learning Coordinators at Valley, Indian Hills, Stilwell, and Walnut Creek.

Most people don’t know that I am the person responsible for the content on our Silver Cord webpage. Community Education works really hard at keeping the web page up-to-date and it has become a great resource for WDMCS students and resident to find fun volunteer opportunities.

We are very fortunate to live in a community that supports older youth and encourages civic responsibility and volunteerism. The Silver Cord students are able to lend thousands of hours of their free time back to the community. Last school year and over the summer the Silver Cord students from Valley and Valley Southwoods volunteered over 30,000 hours. I am very proud of my role in coordinating community connections for our students!

I think the most important Community Education value is “Enriching”. We continually strive to enrich the lives in our community by offering affordable classes for all ages through LEARNwest, high quality child care through Kids West, civic opportunities through Service Learning and wellness activities through student intramurals and the Iowa Senior Olympics.

When the weather is good I enjoy riding my bike. Des Moines has a great trail system and it’s getting better all the time. Two of my favorite rides are WDM to downtown and the High Trestle Trail near Woodward. I also like to cook, try new restaurants, and spend weekends at the Iowa Great Lakes.

Cyndi Bonus, Silver Cord Program Coordinator, 8 months

I coordinate the Silver Cord Program for the 9-12 grade students in the West Des Moines Community School District. The Silver Cord Award is a distinguished graduation award available to Valley High School seniors who volunteer a minimum of 50 hours during each year of high school. My favorite thing, hands down, is working one on one with the Silver Cord participants.

All of the Community Education values are important in my role. I will say “Respect” is probably the most important of all. I try very hard to respect that all of the Silver Cord participants are different and each one has various interests, passions, and goes about how they approach volunteering in their own way. I definitely respect all the students as they work hard to achieve their goals of volunteering many hours while leading busy lives and all that they do to lift up others in our community.

I am married and have three children at three different schools in the district, so I spend a lot of time with my family doing various activities. I also really enjoy traveling, home décor, and being outdoors as much as possible. If I could live anywhere else in the world, it would be Ireland.

Michelle Campos, Stilwell Service Learning Coordinator, 4 years

comed_staff_michelle_camposI-CARE is a program that allows junior high students to volunteer in the community. The students give up one study hall a week and go with me to perform community service. We are trying to have the students become involved in their community and make community service part of their normal routine. We are also preparing them to take part in the Silver Cord program. I would love for each one of the students to become a life-long volunteer!

My favorite part of my role is watching the students get to know each other and interact with other students that they would not normally get a chance to meet. I-Care is one of the few activities that 7th and 8th graders participate in together. I also enjoy watching the students as they form a relationship with our volunteer site. Listening to the students talk in the van is fun too!

Of the Community Education values “Team Unity” is the most important. Our community is like a team and if we all participate and do everything to the best of our ability then the team will thrive. It also reflects one of my favorite sayings, “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

I have three boys that all love to play football. We have two dogs and one kitten. When I am not working, I like to watch my children (and other people’s kids) participate in athletics. I also enjoy running, playing volleyball, and walking my dogs. I like to read when I have a chance to sit down. I also like to eat A LOT of candy!

Shelley Clayton, Indian Hills Service Learning Coordinator, 8 months

I help junior high students become involved in volunteer opportunities. During study halls the students volunteer at various locations including: WDMCS elementary schools – Creastview, Westridge, Clive, and Crossroads, a senior community center, Montessori, and the National Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. We also plan school wide service projects like “Feed the Pod” and “Pennies for Patients”.

My favorite aspect of my job is seeing the kids interact with the community and when they get to visit their old elementary schools to help out. They are very eager to help when asked.

“People Focus” is the most important Community Education value. I feel it is important to show our youth that they are a valuable part of our community and can truly make a difference.

I enjoy spending time with my three girls and husband. I love swimming, running, and biking! I’m training for my first ever sprint triathlon. I have a master’s degree in marine biology and once I started having a family I wanted to be more involved in the district.

Kelley Fifer, Walnut Creek Service Learning Coordinator, 5 years

I coordinate a program that is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection. Service Learning is designed to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

My favorite part of my job is teaching students how to be part of a solution.

“Relevance” is the most important Community Education value. Programs need to evolve and change to meet changing needs. Community Education is very relevant in today’s society.

When I am not at Walnut Creek Campus, I enjoy sporting events (anything with the Hawkeyes), traveling, golf, cooking, and spending time with the my family, especially the grandbabies!