Learning Goal: I’m working on a sociology question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
The community service learning project will allow you to think about how the theories, ideas and social problems we discuss in class play out in real ways in the lives of the individuals you encounter and organizations where you will work. This assignment allows you to engage in active learning while serving various communities. You have the challenging task of linking your on-site observations with the issues of class, race, social structure, individual agency, gender and politics we have been examining in class. The idea is to simultaneously learn sociology first hand as you serve communities in need.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle laid out our mission and obligations in this simple, powerful statement: “The main purpose of faith is to lead us to practice what we believe.”
Too often teaching, research and public service are viewed as being three separate, discreet activities. The focus of this project is to link what we learn in the classroom to the various needs of different communities in the actual population. This project will allow you to see firsthand how sociological theory applies to real world situations by working with organizations and individuals as they serve at risk and in-need populations.
Requirements for the Community Service Learning project:
1. Two hours of community service at an approved site. Your volunteer work will be the basis of your 2-3 page paper. Because of the pandemic, you may choose to do more informal community service so that you won’t be exposing yourself and/or others to more germs. This informal community service could involve helping your family members or neighbors, volunteering your time/services to do things like child care, grocery shopping, driving, tutoring, or cleaning.
We have a center here at La Salle for community service – ext 1048 – if you need help connecting with a service organization.
This two- to three-page, New Times Roman, 12-font paper is due on Sunday, July 3rd.
Getting Ready to Write the Paper.
You need to sit down immediately after you finish your work in the field and write down your observations, impressions and opinions. These observations are the raw data you will be using to write your paper. Think of this whole enterprise as a process. Taking detailed accounts of your experiences in the field will allow you to look back at a future date and find patterns in your data. The more thorough and detailed your description of your on-site experiences, the richer, more nuanced and sociologically detailed your paper will be.
Some Questions You Should Address in Your Paper.
The answers to the questions will help connect your personal experience/perspective with larger sociological concerns/patterns. Reading over them before doing your community service will help inspire/inform your sociological imagination while making your observations.
What population was being served?
What was their socio-economic background?
What populations are serving?
What are their socio-economic backgrounds?
What is the fundamental social problem as you see it?
What problem or problems was the organization addressing?
Is poverty an issue? How?
What roles did race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, language, or cultural background play in your observations of the setting or your interactions?
What role does politics play in the social problem and/or how it’s being addressed?
What was your emotional response to the setting?
What was your emotional response to the individuals you were serving?
Did working with these groups and organizations make you feel good? Why or why not.
Think about our readings – where do they fit into your analysis?
What concrete solutions might you employ to ameliorate the social problems you observed?
If you’re not part of the solution, you’re p
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