Contributing to the Greater Good
Service Learning provides students with an opportunity to learn about community organizations, the working world, and their role as contributing volunteers.
“Belonging to a Community Requires Commitment to the Common Good.”
– IMSA Belief Statement
Service learning can be defined as a teaching method where guided or classroom learning is deepened through service to others in a process that provides structured time for reflection on the service experience and demonstration of the skills and knowledge acquired.
- apply academic, social and personal skills to improve their community
- make decisions that have real, not hypothetical results
- grow as individuals, gain respect for peers, and increase civic participation
- gain a deeper understanding of themselves, their community and society
- develop as leaders who take initiative, solve problems, work as a team, and demonstrate their abilities while and through helping others
The graduation requirement is two hundred (200) hours of community service. These hours should be completed prior to spring break of senior year. Here are some details:
- A minimum of thirty (30) hours but no more than one hundred twenty-five (125) hours are to be completed internally, e.g. campus run programs, tutoring IMSA students, serving as a Residential Student Leader, volunteering in specific departments, etc.
- A minimum of seventy-five (75) hours but no more than one hundred seventy (170) hours may be completed externally.
- Fifty (50) hours of the 200 required hours may be completed out of the state/country.
Please note: For the graduating class of 2023, all approved and validated service learning hours will count toward the two hundred required for graduation. The requirement that a certain number of hours be internal or external has been suspended.
- Sixty five (65) hours completed by the end of sophomore year.
- One hundred (100) hours completed by the end of the student’s 3rd semester at IMSA (midway through junior year).
- Two hundred (200) hours completed by spring break of senior year.
Suggestions for Virtual Service Learning Opportunities
We want all students to be able to reach their service learning goals during distance learning. While some students may still opt to complete service learning hours in-person, we want all to do so safely. We encourage students and parent(s)/guardian(s) to research any in-person opportunities completely to ensure health and safety.
Many service learning opportunities are available virtually*. Here are some suggestions:
- Smithsonian Institute– document transcription
- Vocal ID– lending your voice to those who do not have one
- LibriVox– record chapters for audiobooks
- Translators without Borders– translate text or journals
- Red Cross– volunteer remotely supporting crisis relief
- Mask Up Kane County– working to make masks for healthcare providers and nonprofits in Kane County
- Fundraising for a non-profit, such as the American Heart Association (fundraising requires prior approval; email email@example.com)
- United Nations volunteerism- a variety of opportunities available
- Make phone calls for political campaigns
- External or online virtual tutoring
- The Merry Tutor is a non-profit organization that provides free tutoring services to students in K-12. For further information or to verify hours, please reach out to Alayna Nguyen or Ella Xu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Places to call to inquire on available virtual volunteer opportunities:
- Local hospitals
- Senior living facilities
- Your alderman or other local officials
*Please note: For service-learning opportunities completed virtually or online, if no site coordinator is available to verify hours, please provide an alternate method to prove the number of hours completed in HelperHelper, e.g. an uploaded screenshot of the number of hours completed from the website. You may also put Emma Wilson as the “coordinator name” in HelperHelper in these cases.
Suggestions for In-Person Service Learning Opportunities
- Volunteer Tutoring
- For a neighbor
- At a learning center, such as Kumon
- Local Park District
- Local Food Bank/Food Pantry/Food Assistance
- Environmental Habitat
- Reducing Poverty
- Affordable Housing
- Local Animal Shelter/Pet Rescue Center
- Local Schools- various projects
- Local Churches- various projects
- Local Public Library- various projects
- The Alive Center, a non-profit organization, is looking for IMSA students to tutor in STEM and language subjects. Please contact Ms. Kacie Chitwood at email@example.com.
Service Learning Documentation Process
Student service must follow the guidelines below in order to be counted toward their graduation requirement:
- Service must be for a non-profit organization.
- Students may not receive payment, class credit, or internship credit for their work.
- The supervisor may not be a member of the student’s immediate family.
Once a student has found a Service Learning opportunity, the process is as follows:
- The student should schedule specific dates and times with the agency and get their supervisor’s direct email.
- After concluding the service, students must submit their hours through the HelperHelper app.
- The hours will be validated by the site supervisor and the Service Learning Coordinator through the HelperHelper app.
- Once the hours are validated, they will be reflected in the HelperHelper app, and on the student’s PowerSchool page. This process usually takes up to a week after the initial submission.
IMSA has moved to a paperless evaluation system through the “HelperHelper” App. This App allows students to reflect on their service-learning experience, and allow their supervisors to validate their attendance all in one place. To download the app, click the appropriate links below for your mobile device: