By Carrie Henderson
For Josh Chappell, a rising senior at the North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM), volunteering with the Summer Service Program in his hometown of Goldsboro is more than just a graduation requirement – it’s a partial payback to his hometown for all it gave him.
As a graduation requirement, each student at NCSSM must devote a minimum of 60 hours of public service in their home community, typically accomplished during the summer between their junior and senior years.
Chappell, a native of Wayne County, NC, spent last summer volunteering for a local elementary school. He enjoyed his service so much, he’s volunteering with the YMCA this summer: “The best part is being able to give back to my community and help struggling kids. The Summer Service Program is extremely rewarding.”
Other examples of places NCSSM students are serving this summer include: the Food Bank of Albemarle in Elizabeth City, the Green River Preserve in Transylvania, the Halifax Regional Medical Center in Roanoke Rapids, and the American Bellarusian Relief Organization in Catawba, to name a few.
The Summer Service program reflects core goals of UNC Tomorrow by equipping students with the skills necessary to reach out to hometown organizations and make a difference in the lives of North Carolinians.
“The focus of NCSSM is developing leaders who are focused on giving back and being active in the community and responsible for future of the state. The Summer Service Program is one way our students spread our mission outside the walls of the campus,” said Lauren Everhart, Director of Communications for NCSSM.
The program is service-learning based, which gives the students an opportunity to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and apply it in a real world setting. Once returning to school, the students are given time to reflect on the highlights of their summer service.
The work of the students is also meaningful to participating organizations, many who are experiencing cuts in programs and decreased donations. Many organizations have expressed gratitude for the extra help.
From the 2009 graduating class, 331 students volunteered a total of 24,476 hours and represented 69 counties within the state. That averages to almost 74 hours per student, well above the 60 hour requirement.
Everhart explains the service doesn’t stop in the summer: “Our students are going above and beyond the minimum requirements by participating in other volunteer activities throughout the school year. Their actions demonstrate that they are personally responsible and engaged in their communities.”
Through the Summer Service Program and various volunteer opportunities throughout the school year, students at NCSSM are reaching out to NC communities from the mountains to the coast.
For further information, please contact:
Thomas Clayton, Director of Academic Programs
North Carolina School of Science and Math