Families in Crisis

Teacher(s): Debbie Schuitema, Regina Grube, Emily Milanowski
Main Contact: Debbie Schuitema
Date: 4/2013           Building: Godfrey-Lee High School           Grades: 9-12
Semester: Extended Learning

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 Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

To give back to members of the community while raising awareness of family needs in the midst of a housing or medical crisis.


Effective Practice: MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

What community need will you address and how did you determine the need?

This project addresses the needs of local families in the midst of a housing or medical crisis.

Students determined the need after identifying issues within the community and the support organizations already in place that work to address those issues. The students listened to different representatives from those organizations and choose the two that they wanted to serve with together.

What service will you provide to address the need?

At Family Promise students will: organize games and play with the children of homeless families, organize and clean the Day Center, prepare meals, and do yard work.

At Renucci Hospitality House students will: bake meals and snacks for families with sick or injured children, organize the library, clean and decorate the common areas in the facility.


Effective Practice: LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

How is this project related to a specific curriculum?

Students will put together a budget and supply list, adjust recipes for appropriate serving size, write reflections, brainstorm and put a plan together, and pose thoughtful questions to community members in service organizations.

State Standards and Benchmarks List standards and benchmark met by this project.

CES 1: 2 – 7

CES 3: 3,5

CES 4: 1

CES 5: 1-5, 9,10,13


Effective Practice: REFLECTION

Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

What form(s) of reflection will students use to show what they have learned and accomplished?

• Pre-Service: Students reflected on the needs they saw in their community, the supports and strengths already evident, and the weaknesses that need to be addressed.

• Ongoing: K-W-L types of activities to learn more about homelessness, Family Promise, Renucci Hospitality House, etc. Students will also reflect on the process of decision making and planning.

• Post-Service:

o After each day of service students will summarize their day in a 6-word Memoir. These memoirs will be collected and included in our final presentation.

o On the last day of service, students will create a Pictograph Wall. Each student will write or draw something that represents their service-learning experience.


Effective Practice: DIVERSITY

Service learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

What types of diverse perspectives and experiences will be explored as part of your project? (i.e.: cultural, generational, abilities/disabilities, learning styles, etc.)

Student will experience and explore a wide variety of diverse perspectives and experiences as homelessness, injuries and illness affects all people.


Effective Practice: YOUTH VOICE

Service learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults.

How will students gain ownership of this project?

• Students identified needs of the community and narrowed them down to those which were most important to them.

• Students voted on the support groups they wanted to serve with.

• Students will select recipes, create a budget and supply list, and designate roles.



Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Who will you partner with for this project?

Family Promise of Grand Rapids and Renucci Hospitality House.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

Family Promise will have a clean and organized facility, an abundance of frozen meals and cleaning supplies to give to families moving into a new home and entertainment for the children in the Day Center.

Rennuci Hospitality House will have fresh baked goods for the families in residence and a clean, decorated and organized facility.



Service learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

How will you assess the student learning goals?

With comparisons, formative and summative, of the plans compared to the actual outcomes.



Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

How will you prepare students for this experience?

Students listened to presentations from both organizations to talk about the needs and how they provide services to support those in need. Students also spent time on playspent.org, an online simulation of what it is like to fall into a financial crisis. Students shared personal experiences relating to family illnesses or encounters with those in need.

What are some possible activities students might do as part of this project?

Students will participate in team building activities to foster unity in addition to researching and discussing the issues, and all of the service activities we will do with our partner organizations.



The three arms of sustainability are environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social progress. Think planet, profit, and people.

Describe how your project addresses the issue of sustainability.

Providing support for families in housing and medical crises ensures that they do not continue to fall through the cracks or plunge further into despair. Families will continue to use Family Promise and Renucci Hospitality House for support in their time of need.