Points of Light: Volunteering is Learning
“One of my 12th graders casually shared with me that her farmer father, who was called up to reserves, left his raspberry patch for the family to harvest while he was mobilized. Effectively, this means that on school days she has to get up at 5:30 am so she can pick raspberries before running to the school bus,” wrote Zion Rosner, an educator at OTS’s Katz Oriya high school for girls in Gush Etzion.
“I started researching it a bit more – how much work is involved in the harvest, how long it takes. I realized that I could take my whole class there and kill two birds with one stone: to help my student’s family on the one hand, and to give my other students the opportunity to volunteer at something meaningful within the school setting. So I ordered a small shuttle, checked with the students, got all the permits and a security guard with a weapon who accompanied us the whole time. By half past ten we had finished and at eleven we were already seated back in the classroom.
“Why was this field trip so important to me? Well, for starters, it showed that it’s not either work or study – you can do both successfully. And, because you can jump in, help and then go back to your routine – then you can even do it more often.
“Second thing, it reinforced that helping others helps you. And the third lesson for my students was that if you open your eyes, you discover that there are people around you, maybe even sitting right next to you, who need help. In this case even if it’s not as big as a trip as going to help farmers in the Gaza envelope, it’s still important to help the people of your area.
“The day was perfect,” summarized Rosner. “I love my students so much!”