The Learning Edge
The Importance of Giving Back
By Clonlara School
In a recent interview with KHFM Classical Public Radio, world-famous violinist and Clonlara graduate Rachel Barton Pine (Class of 1991) shared how Clonlara’s volunteer service requirement inspired her to think about using her violin to “serve others beyond the stage.” Today, her foundation provides instrument loans, education grants, and other support to “young string players from challenging financial backgrounds who want to become professionals.”
(Watch the complete KHFM interview with Rachel Barton Pine to hear her describe how she became a homeschooler and how her educational experience influenced her love of research.)
More About Volunteer Service at Clonlara School
Volunteer service is a core element of Clonlara’s educational approach intended to foster a sense of civic engagement and altruism. Each year, our students in Ann Arbor and around the world engage in service projects, with 180 hours required during their high school years (grades 9–12) for graduation.
In addition to encouraging young people to think about and give back to the communities in which they live, volunteering provides for positive social interactions with community members, the possibility to earn course credit, and the potential for improved academic performance.
Volunteer activities at Clonlara may include
- Formal work for a service organization such as Habitat for Humanity or the Salvation Army.
- Service learning courses through internships or apprenticeships, which may involve activities like volunteering to clean up a local park or painting over graffiti.
- Unpaid work in service to others (for example, volunteering at hospitals, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, animal shelters, and nonprofit organizations; helping a disabled or elderly person; or providing a family in need with child care assistance).
Along the way, Clonlara’s teachers and advisors will assist students and families in determining what projects meet our service requirements and whether the activities can be applied toward academic or elective course credit.
How has volunteer service impacted you or your family? Please share your experiences in the comments below.