Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Experiencing Sociology...(Community Service)

Hopefully you are willing to try community service with an open mind. I think that most students who have done service experiences before will say that it was rewarding and an overall good experience. Maybe if you have done a service experience before, you can blog about it. Do you see how doing community service might make you sociologically mindful?  What was it like? What went well? What advice would you have for those who have never done it? If you have never done something like that, what do you think about it? What are your concerns and questions?

I think the most challenging aspect of this is to get students to begin thinking about what experience they might want to do without constantly hounding them. I hope you are up for it. This is your homework - find some places that you might be interested and call them! Have at least 2 places in mind by the end of the third week of the semester. Here is the assignment that I call Step 1. Please turn this in by the first progress report.

Some advice that I want to emphasize:
When you call places to volunteer, do NOT say "I have to do community service..." That makes a bad first impression. It sounds like you are being forced. Instead, say "I want to volunteer..." or "I heard it was a really cool experience so I want..." or you can even say, "My teacher told me about this experience so I wanted to try it..."

Be open minded and willing to feel a little uncomfortable. The best learning experiences of my life were when I was willing to put myself in that position.

Some of the more rewarding experiences have been PADS, the Uptown Cafe, and Clearbrook. Try to do these if you are interested, but you may have to do it with a parent or another adult.

Do not wait until the second half of the semester. These experiences take some time to setup. Sometimes the opportunities are filled, so don't wait! The sooner you set this up, the better chance you will have of finding something that is worthwhile and meaningful. If you wait, you will be rushing and you will only find some last-minute, not-so-great opportunity.

Finally, be patient but persistent when contacting these organizations. Many of the organizations are run by unpaid volunteers. Sometimes they do not work regular hours. If they don't get back to you right away, try calling at a different time of day or a different day of the week or try a different number, etc...


  1. For people who haven't done community service in the past, I think it's really rewarding. This year and last year I have done the thanks giving food drive for my Church, and I have found it to be enjoying. What I did was, I packed food for families and then I helped carry the bags to my mom's car and we drove it to holy family church in Waukegan. My best advice would be to keep an open mind and to not make it seem like you have to do this. If you do that people will notice that and it will just be a bad situation for you and for the people you signed up for. You will not have a good experience if you do that.

  2. So I have a question, is it still considered community service if i volunteer to help out at a funeral home? I want to become a mortician one day and I have an opportunity to help at one but I wasn't too sure if it would really count as "serving the community".

  3. I remember going to Lamb's Farm when I was a kid so I'm really excited to volunteer there for community service! I think its cool how we discuss sociological imagination and mindfulness and now we have a project where we have to apply what we've learned by doing community service

  4. I agree that some of the best learning experiences are when youre willing to put yourself into a position where you feel a little uncomfortable. It feels extremely rewarding afterwards. I also think it's great that we have more opportunities to do some community service, and that we got to see all the different places we can volunteer at!