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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Contest! Community Service vs. Take Action Quiz!

Win Tickets to the Magic Show at SF's Aquarium of the Bay!

Congratulations to our winners: Erika Kain, Lisa Fischer, Grace Zales, and Shannon McMath! Scroll down to see the correct answers below - plus great examples from our winners on how to turn service projects into Take Action projects!

Being of service to others means being helpful – doing the right and kind thing. Serving is often the immediate, and much needed, response to tragedy.  But service is also an everyday kindness. We are of service when we feed the hungry, offer clothing to the homeless, or simply help a friend with a tough homework assignment. In serving, we are most mindful of basic human needs:  food, clothing, shelter, care. Being of service is a vital way to help and care.  

When we move beyond immediate and necessary service to understand the root causes of a problem, we move toward action. When we team up and mobilize others in our efforts to find ways to solve that problem, we are taking action. Action can happen in many ways – from partnering with your town or school to organize more sports events for girls to getting the local toy store to stop following stereotypes when selecting its inventory of merchandise for girls to holding “Take Back the Night” events for teens to have a safe and fun place to hang out together once a month.

Service makes the world a better place for some people “right now.” Action strives to make the world better for more people for a much longer time. Sometimes, service and action just naturally blend together into one sustainable effort.  As a Girl Scout, you use both service and action to live out the Girl Scout Law and “make the world a better place.”

Quiz:  Is It Community Service or Take Action? 

Correctly identify the five questions below as either community service or take action for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the San Francisco Magic Show at Aquarium of the Bay San Francisco on Pier 39. Tickets must be used by Dec. 31. Email your answers to Kerry Barcellos, kbarcellos@girlscoutsnorcal.org, by 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 20. If you answer all five correctly, you'll be entered into a drawing and we'll draw 5 winners who'll get a pair of tickets!

BONUS! You'll get another entry into our drawing if you can email us an example of how to turn one of the community service projects below into a Take Action project. 
1. A group of Girl Scouts hear on the local news that a nearby food bank is running out of food and turning people away at the door because they do not have enough.  They decide as a troop that they need to do something about this and contact schools and libraries to ask if they can put out donation bins and posters to collect food.  They also go door to door in their neighborhood handing out flyers asking for food donations.  They collect carloads of food and take it to the local shelter to help feed the hungry.  Is this community service or take action?

Answer: This is a community service project.  It as very much needed in the community and a large project as they brought in a great deal of food, but the size of the project does not make it a take action project.  Once the food bank uses up the food that they donated, which could be only a matter of days, they will be back in the same place of needing more food donations.  It was helping them immediately, but not making a long term impact or change on the root causes of lack of donations. 

Bonus from Lisa: "Can be turned into Take Action by the girls making reusable shopping bags out of gently used t-shirts that are donated with labels sewn in asking the people who borrow them to return to Food Bank for reuse." 

2. A Girl Scout has been volunteering at a local community center that is frequented by kids who need a place to go after school and also help with homework.  After spending a lot of time there, she started to notice that the homework center is lacking a great deal of resources that would make tutoring easier and more effective.  The room for tutoring is small and has only one shelf of reference books like dictionaries and out of date encyclopedias.  The walls are bare with scuff marks all over them and there is only one computer that is old and slow and difficult to use.  After talking with the staff of the center, they agree that the homework center could be better outfitted to help the kids.  She draws up plans to paint the walls a calm shade to help kids focus, install a large dry erase board for teaching, bring in additional updated reference materials that include language dictionaries, and install new computers and printers. The center agrees to the plans so she outfits them with a new homework center.  Is this community service of take action?

Answer: This is a take action project.  After being a volunteer in the center, she noticed that they need help so spoke with the people working there to see if they agree.  She worked with the center to formulate a plan that will make a long term change to the homework center and make it easier to tutor the children who go there for help. 

3. A Girl Scout notices that she sees an increasing amount of homeless people asking for money on street corners in her community and wants to do something to help them.  She decides that since the weather is turning cold, they need scarves and hats to stay warm.  So, she decides to knit a bunch of hats and scarves to hand out and gets her friends to knit some as well.  She and her friends deliver them to a local soup kitchen to hand out to people who come in without hats and scarves.  Is this community service or take action?

Answer: This is community service.  She noticed the apparent increased number of homeless people in need in her community and wanted to help them.  She did a wonderful community service project of making scarves and hats for them to wear.  Giving the homeless people scarves and hats will help to keep them warm in the winter, which is helpful immediately, but will not make a change in their current situation or make a long lasting impact on the local homeless population.

4. A Girl Scout has a passion for music and wants to share that with others.  She decides to get her friends together to put on a performance for the local elementary school that lost its music program due to lack of funding in hopes that it will inspire the children to take music lessons in the future. She talks to the children about how she got stated and then puts on the performance that she and her friends had been practicing.  The children enjoy it and the school teachers thank them for the music enrichment. Is this community service or take action?

Answer: This is a community service project.  She has passion for music and wants to inspire younger children to take up music as well.  She does a great service of bringing music enrichment to the school, but she does not find a way to make music possible for the students at the school.  Without the outlet for music lessons and musical instruments, the students will not be able to take up music as she hopes they will.  Giving a concert and exposing the students to music is a nice service to the school but when it is over, it ends there.

Bonus from Shannon: "It sounds like the Girl Scout has the Discover and Connect part of the equation but not the Take Action part. The girls could continue their efforts at other schools and spread their love of music. They could also start up a volunteer service where musicians give their time after school and teach children. And they could even do a collection drive for used instruments that these volunteer musicians can use with the students."

Bonus from Grace: "To make #4 Take Action, the Girl Scouts could create a theatre-in-a-box program at the school, giving the school scripts, collecting donated items to create a costumes and props bank, and leading a workshop for teachers and volunteer parents on how to put on a classroom or school-wide show year after year. They could summarize the steps in a video, printed handout or Powerpoint slide show."

Bonus from Erika: "In the case of the music program, if the girls were to put their heads together and reach out to experienced musicians who might offer their time to the younger students and teach regular lessons -- and create an ongoing solution to the problem that would be a Take Action idea."

5. A group of Girl Scouts live in a neighborhood where a student at their old elementary school was struck by a car while crossing the street before school.  They know that it is a risky crosswalk from when they needed to cross it when they were younger.  It is on a street where cars move fast and has no above ground markers except the lines on the street.  They decide to contact the city to campaign for crosswalk warning signs or crosswalk lights to increase the safety of the students.  They also contact the school and start up a student led safety patrol of older students to assist younger students across that particular street. Is this community service or take action?

Answer: This is a take action project.  The girls realized that there is a serious safety issue in the neighborhood of their old school and wanted to change it so students would not be injured in the future.  They set up a student led safety patrol while petitioning the city for more permanent and round the clock safety measures for the crosswalk.  This project is a lasting impact and solution to the problem.