Education - Page 1 - Giving back to others

- Page 1
Giving back to others
Programs add required community service components

By Linda L. Esterson, Contributing Writer

According to “Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017,” American individuals, bequests, foundations and corporations gave more than $410 billion in charitable donations in 2017. While that figure grows each successive year, so do the in-kind donations not associated with a dollar amount. More than ever, individuals are spending time in the community, rolling up their sleeves, to help organizations and people through service.

The Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that leads service, volunteering and grant-making efforts in the United States, indicates more than 582,000 volunteers spend 68.1 million hours in Baltimore, working to impact the lives of citizens in Charm City. According to the organization, more than 36 percent of college students in Maryland volunteer time, 11th most in the country.

At Stevenson University, one of the four core values for students is community involvement. This pertains to involvement in the campus community, in the Owings Mills area surrounding campus and throughout the greater Baltimore area and beyond.

Incoming students can apply to one of two scholars programs, the Leadership Scholars and Service Scholars, which offer scholarships to students who demonstrate a passion for civil engagement.

The Leadership Scholars program includes a community engagement component, which requires a minimum of 30 hours of service per academic year and enrollment in three leadership courses at Stevenson. This is the second year for the Leadership Scholars program, which currently includes 70 students. The unique program operates by the motto “leadership through action not position.”

“What you do as a leader is not necessary the role you play,” says Dan Schwartz, director of student activities and co-leader of Leadership Scholars program at Stevenson University. “Just because you’re a follower doesn’t mean you can’t lead. You lead by listening, doing (and) the decisions you make.”

The Service Scholars program is a comprehensive initiative that offers students the opportunity to extend their civic engagement in the community. In its third year, the nearly 150 service scholars complete a minimum of 100 hours of service per academic year and enroll in three service-learning courses at Stevenson.

Stevenson students also commit to community service above and beyond the scholars programs. For instance, students participate in Mission I’mHome, which started as an alternative break program in New Orleans and expanded to include local cleanup projects in Baltimore over multiple days in the fall. According to Schwartz, trips in January and March help in such areas as New Orleans or Baton Rouge. Last year, the hockey team went to Houston to assist with cleanup, and in May, a group helped with cleanup related to Hurricane Sandy.

“It’s an eye-opening experience to go,” says Schwartz, who adds that many students go on trips more than once. “It’s a bonding experience and they enjoy learning about the area and the effects of what happened.”

The experiences prove impactful in many ways. It’s not just about the students helping a city or area recover from a disaster; they gain skills and experiences that last a lifetime. Schwartz notes the rewards of seeing a shy student become a leader, volunteer for a variety of projects, and make

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