12 Jun 2018
At-Risk Students Volunteer To Help Others In Need
Students in need at Learn4Life make time to help others through volunteering. Learn4Life students have spent hundreds of hours volunteering and have supported many local organizations.
Learn4Life’s community school model turns dropouts into high school grads who are six times more likely to volunteer
LANCASTER, Calif. (June 12, 2018) – Learn4Life, a nonprofit dropout recovery program, helps students stay in school, earn a diploma, and become contributing members of the community while engaging in volunteering and community service.
On average, Learn4Life students are 80 credits and more than a year behind when they enroll. Most face obstacles like teen pregnancy, poverty, homelessness, varying learning styles, disabilities and trauma. Despite these challenges, students recognize the value of service and make time to participate in volunteering opportunities Learn4Life offers, but doesn’t require. These students gain valuable leadership experience and learn social responsibility through projects like:
- Valley Children’s Hospital: Students have supported the hospital for the past three years, raising more than $4,000 for its Children’s Fund to cover uncompensated care. Each year, students sell special edition Kids’ Day issues of the Fresno Bee, featuring compelling patient stories and photos of the vital pediatric care that Valley Children’s Hospital provides.
- Project Linus: Students make blankets for homeless and needy families and babies. The blankets provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need. Blanket-making events are held annually at various Learn4Life locations with up to 50 students participating at each event.
- American Red Cross: Learn4Life has hosted annual blood drives since 2014. Students participate in the Leader Save Lives program and have the opportunity to gain meaningful leadership experience by organizing blood drives. In 2016, Learn4Life student Tristie White was recognized by the American Red Cross for her accomplishment of ensuring the school blood drive met its blood supply goal.
- LA River Cleanup Day: To improve the LA River’s environment for people and wildlife, students cleaned up a portion of the river by planting ground cover, and removing trash and invasive vegetation.
- Ambassadors of Compassion: Students volunteered at a local food bank with the organization that provides access to services for abandoned, abused and disadvantaged families. They unpacked, sorted, and bagged food and common household items for families in need.
- Casa Youth Shelter: Students participated in a community event to help increase awareness of human trafficking by entering drawings, paintings and poems inspired by themes of youth empowerment.
- I Heart Wilmington: To support a community movement that focuses on creating positive change through civic engagement, students cleaned up a community garden, volunteered at a senior home and designed a mural that represented the youth in their community.
Learn4Life students have spent hundreds of hours volunteering and have supported other organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD); Poverello House, a homeless shelter that provides meal and housing; and the Mutual Assistance Network, which offers crisis counseling, and food and clothing assistance. They have participated in walks to raise funds for AIDS research, and advocacy for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Additionally, students have planned several holiday gift and meal drives for organizations including Solutions for Change, which aims to solve family homelessness; the South Bay Center for Counseling, which addresses economic and social inequality in marginalized communities; and Learn4Life families within their own community who needed help putting Thanksgiving dinner on the table.
“Volunteering has the ability to strengthen students’ overall wellbeing by building self-esteem and providing a sense of accomplishment and pride,” said Lorena Galaviz, Learn4Life director of school counseling and student support. “We believe in a community-minded model by integrating volunteering and service into our students’ lives, and find that our volunteering students have better school attendance and engagement.”
For more information about Learn4Life and the thousands of at-risk students who have graduated, visit www.learnfourlife.org.
Note: Hi-res photos available upon request.
Ann Abajian, Learn4Life