When new students enter Albany Leadership, one of the most interesting and unique aspects of their time at ALH will be the hours they invest in the service-learning program. Earning your hours through the ALH service-learning program has been a graduation requirement for all students since the program’s inception in 2012. Our goal through this program is to instill a sense of community engagement in our students and to empower them to know that they can create positive and impactful change in their communities from an early age. In addition, college admissions departments and websites like The College Board, have shared content around the importance of having community service experience before entering the collegiate atmosphere. Many majors and programs across the country require their students to complete a service-learning project prior to their college graduation. At the collegiate level, these programs are often paired with the term social justice and infuse rigorous research assignments together with a direct service project. As a college-prep high school, Albany Leadership holds a mission to prepare our students for these types of projects and activities once they enter college.

Even through the pandemic, some of our students have safely had the opportunity to participate in service-learning projects, such as the food distribution project in partnership with KIPP Schools that our students participated in this fall.  Students have also partnered with The Food Bank of Northeastern New York, Albany County, and the City Rescue Mission. We will continue to encourage our students to unpack the four pillars of service-learning which are; direct service, indirect service, advocacy, and awareness.  Mrs. Anderson, our Service Learning Coordinator, has numerous resources available to support advocacy and awareness building as we navigate the ongoing pandemic.

In the past, Albany Leadership has participated in the National Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service hosted in the Capital Region by Siena College. While the current pandemic may not support a continuance of direct service, understanding the importance of this national day and why it is valuable to take the day on rather than off can help strengthen our awareness of the issues our community is facing and educate our students on the importance of civic engagement now and in their futures. To learn more about the Martin Luther King Day of Service click: https://rb.gy/nuodoo

Written by Amanda Williams

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