Service learning is a method for enhancing student learning and developing in students a sense of social responsibility and commitment to service. It is rooted in the belief that active learning deepens learning, and that service is not just something one does to make oneself feel good but is something one does out of a sense of social responsibility and citizenship.' (Dr. Kiran Cunningham, Class of 1979, guest service learning consultant at Woodstock School during 2001).
Such is Woodstock's philosophy of service learning. In keeping with the school's ideal of service, most students volunteer for some aspect of community service before leaving Woodstock. Middle and High School students work in orphanages, in various development projects from mountain villages to the slums in Dehra Dun, with the children and wives of the school's non-professional workers, with environmental projects, and in local schools and hospitals. Most of these activities are run and organized by CARE.
CARE stands for Community Service and Restoration of the Environment. The aim of CARE is to have a routine program that teaches our students leadership skills and offers an opportunity for productive and useful learning experience. CARE is run by a student committee, under the guidance of a staff advisor. In an average year over 100 students and a dozen staff volunteer to be a part of at least one CARE trip. Many students have put in over 25 hours of community service.
Sharp Blind School, Cheshire Homes, Sisters of Charity, Tibetan Homes Foundation, SIDH (Society for the Integrated Development of the Himalayas), MGVS (Mahila Grahim Vikas Samiti), the Children's Home in Barlowgunj, and the Landour Community Hospital are some of the places frequented by our students. They also run an after-school tutoring program for employees' children.
What do the students do when they visit these places? As an example, one CARE trip saw a group of around 40 students travel to Sharp Blind School and Sisters of Charity, where members of the Woodstock Jazz Band performed and other students spent time playing with the physically and mentally challenged residents. CARE was also involved in the funding and building of a toilet in a Junior High School at Kaplani village, about 8km from Mussoorie. This project was undertaken with MGVS. Funding came from a generous contribution from WOSA North America. Our students worked at the site, digging and clearing earth before the actual construction work started.
What Students Say
"To be part of the CARE committee is not only fun, but by the end of it you actually feel a certain sense of satisfaction within yourself. The fact that these kids actually enjoy our company and look forward to seeing us each time, is in itself a wonderful feeling."
"CARE is something that makes you feel better about the person you are. The more and more CARE work that you do, the more and more you start to appreciate yourself and others around you."
"I enjoy doing CARE for several reasons. It gives me a sense of achievement to share my time and love with people who are not as privileged as me. Above all, I think it's really fun to do CARE activities."