Community Service and Year-of-Service Programs: Extending Student Potential
The IASA Community Service Program broadens student excellence beyond the school walls into the community. Personal satisfaction is the program’s greatest impact. The sensitivities developed through volunteering with varied sectors of society are invaluable and a lifelong gift.
Tuesday afternoons are compulsory Community Service times. For all three years of high school, students choose to work with immigrant children, the elderly, disabled veteran soldiers, academically or physically challenged youngsters and many more. Students are trained for the specific service by the Academy’s staff social worker, as well as institutional staff of their chosen workplace. Community Service is an Academy tradition and is highly esteemed by the professional service entities involved. Each year, new institutions approach IASA for student assistance.
- Each activity must include creativity, imagination, and a challenge
- Community service is integrated into the academic curriculum; teachers identify and explore philosophical and moral dilemmas
Each student chooses a workplace among the available options and receives close mentoring, including regular discussion and follow-up
Year of Service Program
What if you were able to take off an entire year to devote yourself to the community? The Center for Excellence is making that happen.
Sh’nat Sherut, a year of voluntary public service, is a time-honored program of the Israel Defense Forces. High school graduates are permitted to delay the start of their required military duty if they wish to volunteer for a year of public service in a civilian format.
Setting an Example
Initiated by the Alumni Association of IASA, the structured post graduate year of public service is under the auspices and guidance of the Israel Center for Excellence through Education. Although it is an uncommon choice among most Israeli high school graduates, IASA graduates felt that this type of activity would be a model for future graduates, inspiring them to continue community service after graduation and to have an impact on Israel’s future. This concept is a natural result of what they learned and incorporated into their lives through the Community Service program at IASA. The Israeli national average of youngsters participating in this program in a given year is under 3%. At IASA the average in recent years has neared 40%!
Devoted to the Community
Sh’nat Sherut participants are partners in planning how to carry out their year of service. In the morning their volunteer work takes place in local elementary schools where they assist and tutor students. In the afternoon they help run youth clubs in cooperation with local community centers. Other additional after-school services that they have selected include providing hot meals for children in need, arranging sports and social activities appropriate for these young people, and assisting them with their homework.
Maintaining the IASA-Student Relationship
IASA takes pride in their graduates and appreciates their social commitments. In order to show this appreciation, IASA faculty members volunteer to spend some of their free time with the Sh’nat Sherut participants, providing evening classes on subjects of particular interest to them. The bond that remains after the students graduate is a result of sincere mutual respect between the teachers and their students.