January 26, 2015

Volunteerism focus of new class in Wake schools

Amber Smith

Amber Smith

RALEIGH, N.C. - More than 60 Wake County high-school students are signed up to take a class on stewarding and serving their communities during the next academic year.

The elective course, called Community Leadership and Service, will be offered at Broughton High School in Raleigh either the fall or spring semester of this coming year, and during both semesters at East Wake High School.

Created by ME3, a Raleigh nonprofit dedicated to increasing volunteerism, the course will teach students about the impacts of community service, different forms of volunteerism, current social issues, how nonprofit organizations work, and how to find and lead service projects.

"I'd like students to come away with the realization that they have the ability to do something to impact their community," says Amber Smith, president of ME3. "And I'd like them to have an idea of what resources and options are available to help them do that."

As part of the class, which will be taught by teachers at the high schools, leaders from the community and from local charities will be invited to talk about how their organizations work and some of the struggles they face.

Students then will test what they've learned by engaging in their own community-service projects.

The first year of classes will serve as a pilot, and the organization already is in talks with Millbrook High School in Raleigh about offering the course in the future.

If the pilot year goes well, ME3 plans to continue working with local high schools, and Smith says she would be willing to expand beyond Wake County if other schools express an interest.

In addition to her work with ME3, Smith serves as student coordinator of the Nonprofit Studies minor offered by the Institute for Nonprofits at N.C. State University. (The Philanthropy Journal is a program of the Institute.)

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