The topic of service
learning and community partnerships for this paper is homelessness in the major
American cities. Homelessness, considered as the lack of an adequate and permanent
abode overnight, is affecting a sizeable population of the USA citizens.
Engaging in service learning is an important aspect as it provides the students
with a chance to have firsthand experience with the problems in the
communities, enhances their understanding of the problems, as well as provides
a chance to bridge the gap between theory and practice (Vizenor, Souza, & Ertmer, 2016). Student is able to approach
the policy-making decisions from an informed worldview.
Some challenges students
might face as service-learners in the community includes the time constraints. Students
have to juggle between coursework, home and the service learning as well as other
important activities. Additionally, student may face challenges with the work
allocated to them. In some cases, the partners in the community may requested
the student to engage in activities beyond their service learning objectives. The
partner organization for the service learning is the Bowery missions, based in
The Bowery missions forms
and maintain several different partnerships with a wide range of organizations.
One of the major partners is rescue alliance, which has assisted in advocating
for the needs of the homeless people in the city as well as provides an access
to the vital resources needed to assist the homeless. The other partners
include the Hope for New York who mobilizes volunteers and financial resources.
The organization has partners with a software company; Software Solutions to
provide technological advices and platforms used by the mission to serve the homeless
in a better and informed way. The Better Business Bureau provides an accreditation
to the Bowery missions as a credible and reliable charity to receive and utilize
donations (Bowery Mission, n.d.).
The organization has
terminated several partnership due to change in shifts and attainment of the
set goals and objectives. Additional partnership is needed to assist the
organization fully meet its objectives. These include partnership with the
government agencies who will not only be important in making legislation but
also play a crucial role in curbing homelessness. Partnerships with the
government will make it easier to influence and lobby for government efforts directed
towards directing public resources on affordable housing. The partnership with
the financial service providers is also important in managing, advising, and
investing the organizational funds towards better assisting and directing the
organization in its endeavors (McDonald, 2014).
It will also be important to form partnerships with healthcare providers to
offer better, affordable and quality holistic care to the homeless
Bowery mission utilizes
the services of over 10,000 volunteers annually from a wide range of professions (The Bowery Mission, 2017). The homeless and
the volunteers benefit from the volunteer programs. The homeless receive better
services and a chance to socially interact with the professional. The
socialization inspires and gives hope to the hopeless. The volunteers get a
chance to be inspired in life, acquire and develop a sense of direction as well
as act as a psychological way of dealing with the workplace stresses (Sinha, 2014).
Service learning and volunteering
are different for each other. Service learning has a fixed period unlike
volunteering. It also requires a set of skills while volunteering is open to
both skilled and non-skilled persons. In service learning, the objectives to be
met are as defined in the course but learning is unintentional in volunteering.
Beyond the services provided and received during service learning students have
an open-minded approach to life and can form long lasting relations from the
(n.d.). Program Partnerships.
Retrieved from https://www.bowery.org/programs/program-partnerships/
McDonald, S. (2014).
Social partnerships addressing affordable housing and homelessness in
Australia. International Journal of
Housing Markets and Analysis, 7(2), 218-232.
Sinha, S. (2014).
The Benefits of Volunteering. IEEE
Potentials, 33(3), 30 – 31.
The Bowery Mission.
(2017). Volunteer Home.
Vizenor, N., Souza,
T., & Ertmer, J. (2016). Benefits of participating in service-learning,
business-related classes: Assessing the impact on community partners. Journal for Research in Business Education,