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SERVICE LEARNING REPORT

M300-Teaching in a Pluralistic Society

LAINEY LOSEKAMP
DECEMBER 9, 2014
Dr. Dallmer

SERVICE LEARNING REPORT

For my Teaching in a Pluralistic Society class, I was assigned to complete 25


hours of any type of service learning experience. For my service learning project, I
chose two different locations to complete my service learning hours. My first location I
chose was at the Cedar Grove Volunteer Fire Department. At the Cedar Grove Fire
Department, I worked 22 hours at the Firemens Festival. The volunteer firemen host
this festival every year to make money to support the costs of their equipment. The
second location where I completed 5.5 hours of community service was at the Harrison
Township Civics Center. These placement areas were related to class (poverty)
component of the service learning project. From my experience, I gained a lot of insight
of what responsibilities are required to set up a festival and to be a hostess of a
community center.
The reason I selected this site was because I wanted to have a better
understanding of what was happening in my community. I wanted to know what was
provided by the Harrison Township Civic Center and to see how much time and effort
was invested at the Firemans Festival. The reason I chose these two sites is to have
an awareness and knowledge of the two different locations that volunteer services
provide for the community.
When I first visited this site, my thinking was that this service learning project
would be an easy task. Truthfully, I really did not think much time would be invested at
the Cedar Grove Firemens Festival. I thought I would just help these men set up tents
and tables and that would be it. My assumption was incorrect, there is much more work
involved in having a festival than what I first perceived. I was assigned to work in the
Dining Hall. My responsibilities in the Dining Hall were to mop the floors, set -up tables,

SERVICE LEARNING REPORT

seat guests, clean off tables, fill drinks, and clean the hall again during the evening. The
work was never-ending. I had to manage my time and tasks in order to keep the
customers pleased. It was exhausting work but exhilarating and rewarding at the same
time. I really enjoyed the people I worked with and the clientele.
When I completed my hours at the Harrison Township Civics Center, I did not
know what to expect. The trustee asked me to wear fancy dress attire. At first, I
expected it to be laborious work like at the festival but that was not the case. At the
Civics Center, I was asked to be a hostess for the day. As a hostess, I helped decorate
the halls for different parties, I answered phone calls to schedule different availability
times for the center, and monitor the building. This service learning experience was a
lot easier than working at the Firemans Festival. There wasnt as much physical labor
involved. It was an enjoyment to work as a professional there and to me new people!
My most memorable experience would probably be when I lost my keys to my
car this past Saturday. Everyone from the party was cleaning up and getting ready to
go home that afternoon. One of the daughters, who planned the party, was sending
cake home with me. I accepted the kind offer and was going to put a slice of cake in my
car, but I could not find my keys anywhere. I looked all over in my purse and pockets,
and still could not find them. I asked the family who hosted the party, if they had seen
my keys anywhere, they said they hadnt, but offered to help me find them. I looked in
all my pockets and all over the community center. My keys were nowhere to be found.
I then had an epiphany and remembered that I left my keys in the office of the hall. The
problem was that the door was locked and I did not have the key to the office. I only
had the key to the building. I then had to call one of the trustees and he came to the

SERVICE LEARNING REPORT

hall to unlock the office door for me. Inside the office, there were my keys. Everyone
was laughing and I thanked everyone for the help. It was another, great Lainey
moment I had.
From this experience, what I found more inspirational than surprising is how
volunteering builds community and friendship. The volunteers involved with the
Firemans Festival were not only volunteer fireman but people around the community.
People from different towns and church groups would come and participate in the event
to make it successful. There was a lot of joy and fun from both of these experiences.
People would be willing to help out one another even though they were not asked to. It
was pure enjoyment to watch and be a part of. It was phenomenal to see how
volunteering over a certain event would bring a community together. This same
inspiration goes along with Harrison Township Civics Center as well.
The ideas from this Teaching in a Pluralistic Society that related to this
experience would be achieving the first, second and fourth purpose of this multicultural
education class. This learning experience provided opportunities for me to understand
that othaer individuals have different views and perspectives than mine. They come
from different backgrounds and have many different experiences than I. It is interesting
to see that racism and discrimination happens in the 21st Century in small communities.
For example, at the Firemens Festival, a group of older women I worked with spoke in
astonishment about an inter-racial couple who had bi-racial children at the festival.
These older women were in their 80s but thought seeing that couple was very odd and
weird. What I noticed is that I was aware these women had different views than I but
we were able to work together and get along. Another factor I observed was a socio-

SERVICE LEARNING REPORT

economic class of people that entered the festival. Generally speaking, there was a
disequilibrium of middle-class and low-class. There were more middle-class people at
the festival but I did notice an abundance of low-socioeconomic class that would enter
the festival. Depending on who I worked with, some of the volunteer workers were very
inviting and caring for these people. A handful of other workers, would discriminate and
speak negatively about these people.
This experience will overall make me a better teacher because I have worked
and managed to work with other people who come from different cultural backgrounds
and have different views compared to mine. I have become better at managing my time
and skills. I think this is a very important aspect to have as a teacher. I have a greater
awareness of possibly coming across students who may come from families who face
poverty and racism. It has made me brainstorm and reflect about different possibilities I
can do in order to combat racism and poverty in the community I will possibly teach in.