Serve Your Community: Earn College Credits Workshop

Service Learning
On March 24, 2015, the Serve Your Community: Earn College Credits Workshop was held in Valencia College’s East Campus. This workshop was presented by Mr. Douglas Taylor and it was all about Service Learning. All the workshop attendees were given the evaluation survey, a Service Learning brochure, and a BayCare bookmark. The assistant also informed us of a Wellness Fair that will take place on Valencia’s East Campus on April 7th, which will consist of depression screenings and many hands on activities to learn more about the mind. Mr. Taylor explained that Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich students academically, civically, pre-professionally and personally while strengthening their community. He told us of class SLS2940 Service Learning, which involves 20 service hours for every 1 credit hour, meetings with your faculty mentor, finding an agency to volunteer, and 7 reflection papers on your volunteer experience. The benefits of Service Learning include networking with people in your future career field, gaining experience in the field, gaining new skills in the field, giving back to the community, exploring your career options, and earning recognition. SLS2940 Service Learning can be taken for up to 4 credit hours and you can earn a medallion and a pin as part of your graduation cap and gown outfit. The medallion system works like this:
For 40 service hours, you receive a Bronze Medallion.
For 60 service hours, you receive a Silver Medallion.
For 80-100 service hours, you receive a Gold Medallion.

The steps to taking this class include:
1. Determining the semester and how many service hours you want to do.
2. Completing an online application at:
3. Waiting for acceptance and assignment to a faculty mentor if you meet the requirements to take the class.
4. Choosing a location and getting consent to complete service hours in the location.
5. Starting your service hours and meeting with your faculty mentor often and completing your reflection papers throughout the term.
6. Completing the service hours and receiving the college credits on your transcript for graduation.

Mr. Taylor also mentioned that the Bridges to Success program community service hour requirement does NOT qualify for the hours in this class, meaning that Bridges to Success hours and SLS2940 Service Learning class hours are two separate entities. The Service Learning staff is willing to pair you with a mentor and overall, Bridges to Success students could possibly use this as a summer class elective. He told us of his story and how he took this class to strengthen his idea of what he really wanted to do in life as a career. Finally, I felt that this workshop was pretty enlightening to how you can journey into your field and gain more skills while having it count toward your college degree because colleges nationwide are starting to look more for service learning or any type of community service in applications for prospective students. I would definitely recommend this workshop to anyone interested in gaining experience in their future career field during the summer term or trying to fit it in with any other term at Valencia.
For any questions about Service Learning, Robyn Brighton can be contacted at rbrighton1@valenciacollege.edu

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