Service project originators are eager to share their work. Instead of personal gain, they seek solutions for environmental and human needs. They find satisfaction in progressive work toward goals beyond the self. They teach us how to come together and build community, serving as role models in many ways. When I worked with a project originator to expand a service learning project he had created into a district-wide model, this was his response:
Though I may be considered the district’s leader, this year I feel like one member of a team. That’s a new experience—and a nice one. I am willing to meet with or present to anyone or any group. If there is a niche I can fill, let me know. This program is a good one. I think the combined momentum could keep it going for a long time. It’s nice to be on a team. Thanks for making it happen.
This response is typical for project originators. There is no blockage to sharing and creating—they seek expansion of the good outcomes they have created. They take responsibility, have excellent follow-through, don’t give up, continue to care for those with whom they have created relationships, and seek to include others in common endeavors. They welcome diversity of contributions, care for others, and play well with others in highly constructive ways.
So often we speak of learning from history—learning from our mistakes. How invigorating would it be to focus on learning from current solution-builders, to shift our focus toward positive, progressive expectations? Project originators see problems, but more important, they see solutions. They refer to problems, but they talk about solutions and seek others to join them in creating them. They need others to work with them and follow their lead. They seek to educate and bring more of us into their problem-solving arena. They show us the feasibility of significant and inspiring change. They show us the way forward. A K–12 service learning curriculum would honor their work, bringing much needed support as they continue to carve the way forward with our children as partners.