Lakota freshmen using community service to explore interests, careers

Students at Lakota East Freshman School in Liberty Twp. recently worked together to document their experiences with community service. The “service learning” program has students doing volunteer work at local charities, churches and other philanthropic organizations and then they will share their experiences with classmates via computer power point presentations. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF
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Students at Lakota East Freshman School in Liberty Twp. recently worked together to document their experiences with community service. The “service learning” program has students doing volunteer work at local charities, churches and other philanthropic organizations and then they will share their experiences with classmates via computer power point presentations. MICHAEL D. CLARK/STAFF

A Lakota school program takes classroom learning into the community to help those in need.

The Lakota East Freshman School community service program recently saw participating students working together to record and present their experiences in philanthropy throughout the Butler County school system.

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Activities for the freshman students this quarter included volunteering at Reach Out Lakota food pantry, distributing food and clothing, and working at local charities and churches.

“We have a huge emphasis in Lakota on service learning, but more than that it’s getting students out of the classroom and getting them real experiences where they can learn beyond the four walls of the classroom,” said Lakota Schools spokeswoman Lauren Boettcher.

The program gives them some “life skills and gives them something they can carry with them the rest of their lives beyond the concepts and (academic) standards they are learning,” said Boettcher.

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Amy Mahaffey, honors English teacher and coordinator of Lakota East Freshman school’s learning service program, said one of the secrets to the program’s success is that students pick the community organization they want to work for and study.

“They (students) go out and serve for five hours at an organization of their choice, though some of them choose more than one (organization),” she said. “And then they present — using (the computer program) PowerPoint — their experiences, telling us what they did, how they served, how it impacted the community and how it impacted them.”

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Lakota freshman Ella Staggs said, “I love this opportunity.”

“We work with the kids, we do yoga with the kids, read books with them and build a relationship with them,” said Staggs, who has been going to Hopewell Early Childhood School two times a week.

“I really wanted to volunteer with little kids because I want to be a pediatrician when I get older. I love science, medicine and I love little kids,” she said.

Classmate Alex Galliers worked at Reach Out Lakota and Bethany United Methodist Church.

“We prepared and wrapped breakfast sandwiches and then went to downtown Cincinnati and went to multiple locations passing them out along with coats and clothes to keep people down there,” said Galliers.

“To help people feels nice and it’s a good cause,” he said.

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