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Enjoy serving your community and get out of the classroom.

Earn credit outside the classroom. With service-learning courses, you'll make learning an adventure, experience the real world, serve your community, help others, have fun and still get credit. More cool benefits:

  • Learn by doing
  • Serve your community
  • Experience citizenship
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Connect with community issues
  • Improve personal skills
  • Expand network opportunities
  • Build your resume. (Employers like to see you are more than a GPA.)

How it works

Service-learning classes are classes without borders. You enroll in them the same as with other MCC classes. Examples of service learning include:

  • Biology: work with a local wildlife preserve to help clean up a waterway and study first hand how plants, animals, and ecosystems are affected by human activity.
  • Theater: work behind the scenes at a city theater and work with staff on costumes, lighting, sound design and acting.
  • Accounting: help area residents prepare and file taxes during tax season.

Two ways to get service learning:

  1. Do it in class: integrated class: For this course, the service you do is like a homework assignment: You and your classmates do at least 15 hours of service as part of your class. Your instructor assigns a journal, paper or other assignment to see what you've learned.
  2. Do it on your own: component class: This stand-alone, one-, two-, or three-hour class adds service experience to a course you are taking. Or extends the experience of the one you've finished. For every hour you take, you put in 40 hours of community service. You'll wrap up your experience with a journal, paper or other assignment. You work on your own and at your own pace.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I do this and everything else?

A service project isn't busy work added on to existing work. Because it is an important part of your learning it is often substituted for another major assignment. Or it might become a part of your research. If you're concerned, contact your instructor before enrolling to learn what's expected of you.

What scholarships are available?

Many scholarships have service as part of their requirements, such as the Longview Hispanic scholarship, the Kevin O'Neil Phillips scholarship and the Plaza Rotary scholarship. See our scholarship booklet for a complete list.

Who can take component courses?

The stand-alone service-learning class is meant to piggyback with another class that you are taking or have just taken. If you want to enroll in one, you should contact the instructor to see if this is right for you. You and your instructor will develop a project and there will be an assignment that pulls your experience together.

How do I keep track of hours?

You'll fill out an online hourly log sheet. Print it and get it signed by someone with the agency you served.

What other service activities are available at MCC?

Check out the campus Life and Leadership volunteer activities on each of the MCC classes. Many campus clubs also offer chances to serve.

English Service Learning Project Takes on Hunger

Not your typical English class-that's what Casey Reid's students found when they enrolled in English 102 at MCC-Longview. Expecting only to "read books/write papers" they were surprised by a class that took them beyond classroom walls. And though they learned typical English class skills-planning, research, writing, documenting work, presenting to the class-they learned them in a way that was far from typical.

The class began with a weighty project: solve homelessness and hunger. To tackle it, they formed three groups of six students each. Here are three:

Kelsie Woodward

Kelsie Woodward

Kelsie Woodward was just looking for some credits when an advisor suggested she try a new English class. The freshman from Blue Springs had no idea what service learning was about.

Her group worked with Harvesters, Metro Lutheran Ministry and Kansas City Rescue Mission. The group raised funds, served at fundraisers and interacted with homeless people.

"It was a real eye-opener, talking with those who before were just faceless people who crossed your path," says Woodward. "I learned about myself in many ways and drew upon the values I was raised with: optimism, caring and willingness to help.We only spent about 30% of our time in class (the group and instructor kept up in touch with e-mail and BlackBoard). You have to be strong to deal with this issue and have a solid heart. As Ghandi said, 'You must be the change you want to see in the world.'" Yet, there was another side to her experience, "It was a blast to work with your group, and despite all the personalities, get all noses pointed in the right direction."

Woodward plans to major in journalism and transfer to University of Missouri-Columbia.

Kasey Calton and Derica Phillips

Kasey Calton and Derica Phillips

Neither Kasey Calton nor Derica Phillips had heard of service learning before taking Casey Reid's English 102 class. They soon were absorbed in the class. Their group partnered with Independence Community Services League, Wal-Mart and Sonic, and even held a bake sale. They raised more than $3,000 in just two weeks-enough to provide food for 342 people for more than a month.

That fundraising power was one of the reasons the group took first place in the class competition for best project. Says Calton, "It was dynamic. I really liked the hands-on approach. It made learning easier and fun. And we discovered there's a world out there. I'd definitely recommend a class like this to a friend-certainly to anyone whose learning curve benefits from hands-on learning."

Phillips agrees, "It's great for people who like to work in a group setting. It was exciting to see how we could incorporate different personalities into a team that achieved our goal. "Service learning is awesome!"

Both women invested a lot in the project. Each has two children, and the project took time away from family (although Calton's daughter set up a lemonade stand at the Wal-Mart food drive!). Calton plans to transfer on to Graceland to study nursing. Phillips is studying psychology and intends to transfer to a four-year school.

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