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That sounds like a lot of work to do on a Saturday!

Groceries graphic

By Allison Blake, AmeriCorps Promise Fellow serving at Anoka High School 

I have been working with a student who has struggled academically, due in a large part to lack of organizational skills. He has been failing all of his core classes for the majority of the semester and has had no sense of urgency to fix this. Recently, we have been discussing the community service portion of his social studies grade.  The students are supposed to complete at least 5 hours of community service for their class and have it approved by their teacher and another adult. I was taking a group of students from my leadership club to the local grocery store to bag groceries one Saturday. I happened to mention this to my student and he shrugged it off and said “That sounds like a lot of work to do on a Saturday!”

Needless to say I was not expecting him to show up that weekend. He came to see me the following day during lunch to get some help organizing his school papers, when he came across the community service sheet he needed to turn in to his teacher. “I should probably do some community service,” he said.  “When are you bagging groceries?”

Sure enough, on Saturday morning he showed up at the grocery store. We only stayed for three hours so he still needed to do two more hours of community service. I mentioned he could contact the custodial staff and ask them if they needed any help after school.

When we got back to school on Monday, he contacted our custodial staff and worked after school with them for two hours cleaning the school. He found me on Tuesday to sign off and turn the sheet into his teacher, and told me how great he felt after helping out with the groceries and cleaning.  He asked if the leadership group does service all the time, and asked how to get involved with the club next year.

By spending three hours bagging groceries for strangers, and two hours cleaning the school, he found something he enjoyed doing and wants to continue to spread that joy to others.

[From “Voices From the Field: Reflections from Minnesota Alliance With Youth’s AmeriCorps Members.” Summer 2017.]

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