Perceptions of volunteering and community service : voices of post-secondary remedial completer Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/n583xw963

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  • Although community colleges have emphasized service-learning programs for traditional students, by in large, non-traditional students from post-secondary remedial programs have not been involved. This lack of reaching post-secondary remedial programs may be of particular interest to college personnel who may not be aware of the need to include service activities for non-traditional students in ways that will help them become caring individuals and strive toward a positive future. This study was guided by the following research questions: 1. What are the perceptions of Skill Center completers who were involved in volunteering and community service? 2. What are the opportunities for connecting their service involvement to the community college? The study examined the perceptions of 15 former post-secondary remedial students involved in community service and volunteering. All of the participants in the study were persons of color, 12 of the l5 were identified as African-American, one as Latino, and one as Asian. The data were collected through in-depth interviews conducted by the researcher from a participant-observer position and focused on service interactions and the types of understandings each participant developed in relation to the people they met. Voices of post-secondary remedial students who successfully complete volunteering or community service activities on their own and without any college sponsorship are rarely heard. Participants in this study described a variety of service experiences that provided insight into the social connection among a community of people. The most often cited themes were the participants' personal service reflections, their relationship with others, community building, and their motivation for service. Critical benefits to the participants were how service involvement helped clarify their life and allowed them to learn more about themselves. Participants told of the advantages of working together and being committed to the community, which gave them a sense of connection. Participants also revealed that volunteering actually opened doors for employment opportunities. These experiences were beneficial both from the viewpoint of the acquisition of skills and a feeling of personal ownership and pride. Another benefit for participants engaged in service was to transform their feelings into an ethic of caring, social capital, and personal transformation.
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