CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 21 . . . . June 21, 2002
Many schools today are requiring community service as a high school graduation requirement, and community service is often a program requirement within youth serving organizations like Guides and Scouts. Viewing the short video Volunteers for Life could serve as a fine catalyst for a class discussion concerning volunteer opportunities within the viewers' community. The video's particular strength with its intended teen audience is that it lets adolescents carry a good portion of the commentary, and even though a couple of the situations, such as the student's asking a teacher's help in locating volunteer positions, come across as obviously staged, in most of the other scenes the adolescents are effective spokespeople. Another strong aspect of the video is its use of visits to a variety of volunteer settings, such as a service club, a hospital, an animal shelter and an historical village, where teens are shown carrying out a variety of volunteer roles. While some of the tasks are, in relative terms, somewhat "glamorous," others are realistically portrayed as the pedestrian chores they really are. Nonetheless, the adolescent volunteers are able to talk about how they are benefitting themselves and/or their community by what they are doing. The video is accompanied by a brief eight page guide which summarizes the video's contents and also provides a dozen "Questions and Activities" for classroom use.
According to Volunteers for Life, one-third of all Canadians are volunteers, and of that group's membership, one-fifth are young people. Volunteers for Life, somewhat pricey, would likely be a better addition to school district/division collections rather than at the school level.
In addition to being the volunteer editor of CM, Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in YA literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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