The impact of service-learning on voluntary and community organizations in the west of Ireland
Keywords:college students, benefit to organizations, service-learning, Ireland
The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of student volunteers on community organizations and to identify deficits in training within service learning modules which, if addressed, could enable community organizations to benefit more from student volunteers. An anonymous survey aimed to measure students’ impact, as perceived by host community organizations, relative to non-student volunteers and paid staff, and to investigate if their impact and the types of work they undertook was correlated with organization attributes. The perceived impact of student volunteers on the organization mission was high, but the nature of their work was functional and not academic in nature. Host organizations felt that student preparedness, prior to their engagement, could be enhanced by members of the organizations either addressing the student body within a classroom context, or by playing a role in the design of modules which may have an impact on their area of focus.
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