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The canned food drive: What do students learn?

The canned food drive: What do students learn? Numerous studies have shown that community service during adolescence is associated with positive youth outcomes and future civic engagement (Reinders and Youniss, 2006; Yates and Youniss, 1996). However, less is known about the ways in which students participate in and perceive intermittent, noncurricular community service. The purpose of this study is to examine seventh and eighth grade students' (N = 22) experiences during a common school-wide community service event: the canned food drive.Design/methodology/approachData include students' journal responses to questions about the food drive including their feelings about the event, learning that took place, positive parts of the drive and challenges. An inductive qualitative analysis was used.FindingsAnalysis of students' responses revealed that most students perceived themselves and their classmates as being very helpful to the community and described feeling happiness and pride from the event, even when participation was minimal or nonexistent. While some students reported awareness of poverty and inequality after the food drive, many of their comments about those receiving the donations included deficit-oriented terminology and cognitive distancing by positioning those experiencing food insecurity as “the other” and different from themselves.Practical implicationsFindings highlight the benefits and shortcomings of community service, as class biases and surface-level ideas about helping may be unintentionally reinforced. Recommendations to address these issues are discussed.Originality/valueGiven the prevalence of community service in schools, qualitative research is needed to understand firsthand how students experience these events. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Studies Research and Practice Emerald Publishing

The canned food drive: What do students learn?

Social Studies Research and Practice , Volume 16 (1): 12 – May 25, 2021

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References (30)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1933-5415
DOI
10.1108/ssrp-09-2020-0044
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Numerous studies have shown that community service during adolescence is associated with positive youth outcomes and future civic engagement (Reinders and Youniss, 2006; Yates and Youniss, 1996). However, less is known about the ways in which students participate in and perceive intermittent, noncurricular community service. The purpose of this study is to examine seventh and eighth grade students' (N = 22) experiences during a common school-wide community service event: the canned food drive.Design/methodology/approachData include students' journal responses to questions about the food drive including their feelings about the event, learning that took place, positive parts of the drive and challenges. An inductive qualitative analysis was used.FindingsAnalysis of students' responses revealed that most students perceived themselves and their classmates as being very helpful to the community and described feeling happiness and pride from the event, even when participation was minimal or nonexistent. While some students reported awareness of poverty and inequality after the food drive, many of their comments about those receiving the donations included deficit-oriented terminology and cognitive distancing by positioning those experiencing food insecurity as “the other” and different from themselves.Practical implicationsFindings highlight the benefits and shortcomings of community service, as class biases and surface-level ideas about helping may be unintentionally reinforced. Recommendations to address these issues are discussed.Originality/valueGiven the prevalence of community service in schools, qualitative research is needed to understand firsthand how students experience these events.

Journal

Social Studies Research and PracticeEmerald Publishing

Published: May 25, 2021

Keywords: Community service; Civic engagement; Youth

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