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Service-Learning: How to Empower Students to Solve Global Issues

students-global-water crisis
students-global-water crisis

How are you embracing service-learning in your classroom? Did you know there are simple ways to empower your students outside of the regular classroom?

Mitchell LeGrand

Educational Programs Manager, H2O for Life

In 2019, the YMCA conducted a survey of 2,000 young Americans ahead of their Giving Tuesday campaign. In their research, they found that 74% of participants stated that they wish they could be doing more to help make the world a better place.

That is why our schools need to start embracing service-learning and project-based learning as the go-to method of empowering students in and out of the classroom. Students are eager to be working on bigger issues.

They need the opportunity to take what they are learning out of the classroom and apply those ideas to real-world problems. That is why at H2O for Life, we have helped schools facilitate meaningful service-learning projects connected to the topic of access to clean water and sanitation.

What students can gain from H20 for life

At H2O for Life, we provide free resources for schools and educate them about the global water crisis. Access to clean water and sanitation is a human right, however, there are still communities all around the world that lack access to such a basic need.

When we are in the classroom, we like to frame the conversation about the global water crisis around The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal #6, clean water and sanitation. There are so many different issues that water intersects with, and it is one of the greatest issues the next generation is going to have to confront.

It isn’t enough to simply understand what the problem is, also needed are the tools to take action. Our programming allows students to connect with schools and communities domestically and abroad through our implementing partners that need help accessing clean water and sanitation.

We then help them design a project where they raise funds and awareness for their partners to help provide clean water and sanitation where it is so desperately needed. This service-learning project is a way for students to assist with a public health intervention, break poverty cycles, provide food security, reduce inequalities, and fight injustices.

Students have the chance to apply what they have learned in the classroom and participate in a real-world solution to this big problem. As educators, we need to be doing everything within our power to empower students and give them opportunities to do more.

It is crucial to seek out programs like H2O for Life or to design similar opportunities for students where they can contribute to the solutions to the problems they are learning about. Using service-learning can help students amplify their voices on these important global issues.

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