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Service-Learning in Local Homeless Shelters
For college students, service-learning provides an opportunity for social learning while encouraging the social services of the homeless shelter population.
One aspect of care offered in several homeless shelters across the country is a program known as service-learning. Designed to provide real-life experiences for college students, service-learning enables students to apply their academic knowledge in a way that impacts the environment in a homeless shelter. In the service-learning program, college students are placed within the confines of a homeless shelter and assigned to specific community service programs that not only facilitate their learning but also supports the role of the homeless shelter's staff. While the goal of the service-learning is to promote the social responsibility of a college student, it provides added support to families in need.
If you are live in a homeless shelter, and you find that your shelter does not provide service-learning support services, ask the shelter's management about such a program. Often, with the engagement of a local community college or four-year university, a program of service-learning can be implemented with fairly little resource. For example, college students involved in music or art focused degree plans can come into the homeless shelter and offer community service with art therapy and music therapy sessions. The cost to the shelter would be only in the effort to coordinate the donation of art supplies or music instruments.
Because the homeless shelter population is continuing to rise, and due to shortages in rental properties and poor job opportunities, it is important to keep the psychological and emotional well being of the homeless population as optimistic as possible. With the implementation of service-learning programs, many families are provided the emotional support to persevere and to improve their overall quality of life with little to no cost to the homeless shelter program.
Whether you are a family living in a homeless shelter, the director of a homeless shelter, or someone who is attending school, reaching out to form social networks is important to the well being of our society. Implementing service-learning programs in local homeless shelters is one way in which residents of the shelter are provided additional support services and college students are learning social responsibility in addition to their academic curriculum.