Service Learning with Community Engagement that Benefits Volunteer Organizations

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Conference Proceeding

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Designing learning experiences that address both educational and mission-related goals represents a rich approach to ensuring students realize that all aspects of the life they will lead after leaving college are interwoven. Their career goals will inevitably overlap with the community and service activities they will choose to pursue, especially in leadership roles that a Mercy Education has prepared and encouraged them to assume. This approach was in the forefront of the academic design of a project that has been conducted, and is continuing to be conducted, by selected Accounting and Business students at Misericordia University located in Northeastern Pennsylvania. An unfortunately prevalent community problem with financial mismanagement in volunteer organizations that have no employees, referred to as all-volunteer organizations (AVOs), was recognized. The only available support resources, excellent as they were, focused on larger not-for-profit entities assuming the presence of employed staff. These resources did not specifically address the unique needs of these AVOs. A faculty member mobilized students in his classes to address the matter. The outcomes to date accomplished through service learning courses include: the creation of The Misericordia University Internal Controls and Federal Tax Exemption Basics for All Volunteer Organizations Resource Manual made freely available to AVOs; evening educational seminars open to the public; international recognition of the work of the students with individuals from the U.S. and Canada contacting Misericordia for help; increased student realization of the importance of the work of AVOs; and opportunities for students to become part of AVO activity.


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