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Fall Service-Learning Students Experienced Unique Learning Benefits

Each semester, the Service-Learning Office invites every student enrolled in a service-learning class to participate in the Service-Learning Impact Measure (SLIM) evaluation. The SLIM evaluations help service-learning staff understand the service students participate in, measure the unique learning benefits of service-learning and improve the service-learning program at VCU.

Approximately 314 students completed the SLIM survey for the fall semester and were entered to win a gift bag from the Service-Learning Office, containing a $10 Starbucks gift card, a VCU Service-Learning t-shirt, candy and a thank-you note from the Service-Learning Office staff.

The two SLIM survey winners each had unique service-learning experiences and were impacted in varying ways.

Shaniqua Thorpe, an education major, has been the Service-Learning Teaching Assistant for Professor Allison Ryals' SLWK 200, “Building a Just Society,” course for the past three semesters. The class works directly with VCU’s Mary and Frances Youth Center in the Lobs & Lessons program, which is a youth enrichment program that strengthens life skills, promotes academics and creates a path to higher education through the sport of tennis. For the class, Thorpe Ied group discussions to facilitate reflection in a small group setting with students.

“Most of the topics discussed in that class are very personal and hit home for a lot of students, so we have small groups so if a student doesn’t feel comfortable speaking out to a larger group, he/she can always speak up in the smaller group as a safe space,” Thorpe said. “ Through service-learning, I have learned to come out of my comfort zone and be open to new opportunities. It’s a great way to network around Richmond while still getting credit for it, and you’re also doing something far greater than just receiving credit.”

Evan Charles, a sports leadership graduate student, took the service-learning course, “Sport Leadership” with Professor Carrie LeCrom. Charles worked with Sportable as part of the course. The organization serves athletes as young as 5 with a wide range of physical and visual impairments, providing 13 adaptive sports programs, unique sports clinics and special events for athletes, families and community partners.

A former college tennis player, Charles worked specifically with Sportable’s tennis programming, serving as an instructor and working with athletes on their skill development.

“For me the experience was very impactful,” Charles said. “I think the athletes I worked with were very inspiring and provided a whole different perspective on day-to-day life. I’m really glad I was a part of the project, and I plan to continue to work with them in the future.”

For more information, contact Katie Elliott, associate director of service-learning, at