Community Day helps Medina students connect with agencies for volunteer service

Posted 6 October 2015 at 12:00 am

Provided photos – Brandi Guild talks with Robert Batt, a 4-H Youth Development Educator with the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County.

Press release
Medina Central School
MEDINA – While many schools are dropping their community service requirements for students, Medina High School is making it an integral part of their learning experience.

This is the third year that social studies teachers, Todd Bensley and Michael Pickreign, have used their creativity to get students to talk to local agencies and be able to sign up on the spot for their minimum of 10 hours of volunteer time.

The teachers invite about 12 local organizations to set up tables in the cafeteria and then the high school seniors spend a period going from table to table to learn more about the agency and what kind of help they need.

“In the past, we had students who wouldn’t sign up for their community service,” Mr. Pickreign said. “They wouldn’t know where they could go to volunteer or what would be expected of them, so they didn’t bother. This way they have to go to each table, talk to the representative and then they get to pick which one is the right fit for them.”

Morgan Nashwenter, Aracely Hernandez with Sue Metzo from the Medina Area Association of Churches (MAAC).

Mr. Bensley said that not only is community service a nice thing for students to do in order to develop empathy, but makes a difference in their hometown, helps them build their resume and become more well-rounded individuals.

“A lot of them are surprised by how much they enjoy it,” he said. “It is eye-opening for them and makes them feel good about positively impacting the community. Some of them end up volunteering more time than the requirement.”

At the end of their volunteer experience, students give a presentation to the class about the history of the agency they chose and what their experience was.

“We hear a lot of positive feedback from the students and the agencies,” Mr. Pickreign said.

“I think in terms of education, this gives the students a chance to apply what they learn in class to real needs in the community,” Mr. Bensley said. “It’s an enriching experience for everyone.”