Ms. Francis is a teacher at Buckeye Valley Middle School in Ohio. “Service-learning is embedded into my curriculum,” says Fracis. “My students gain valuable problem-solving skills, empathy and also potential career pathways by volunteering.” 

A team of fifty 7th and 8th grade students were involved in the service-learning project Buckeye Valley MS & Turning Point Domestic Shelter Art Project. The Learning to Give lesson, Be the Change: Violence, taught students how bullying or violent behavior can affect the school and community. Students learned about personal responsibility and generated ideas on how they can be the change they wish to see in the world. 

For the service-learning project, students created acrylic art for a domestic violence shelter that recently opened in the community.  

The Learning to Give mini-grant allowed for the students to purchase the supplies needed to decorate the bare walls in the kids’ playroom, client bedrooms, common areas, and group rooms. Students chose the colors they wanted to use for their art pieces, the size of the canvas, and where they wanted their art displayed. Also, the students were able to make fleece-tied blankets for the kids that were displaced from their home due to domestic violence. 

Communication and problem-solving skills were developed in the students through deciding how they wanted their project to look as well as investigating the non-profit to find out key data and information on the organization. Ms. Francis’ 7th and 8th graders used their social skills by talking to the director and other staff members before and after their site tour. 

Without the mini-grant, the students would not have been able to go (transportation to and from the shelter) to physically decorate it to help make the shelter a more welcoming place. The students were able to use their talents to make the place feel more like home for members in the community that are going through a difficult situation.