Leadership Class Connects WWVA Students with Community

January 01, 2011 | Katie Woolever

“Charitable organizations really need consistent help” is the mantra behind Tyler Anderson’s new community leadership class.

Anderson, who teaches history at Walla Walla Valley Academy (Wash.), wanted to find a way to use his students’ interests to connect them with the needs of community service organizations in the Walla Walla Valley. Thus the community leadership course was born.

The format is simple: students write up an application to the association where they would like to serve, meet with staff, schedule their hours and sign a contract. Then they get to work, regularly serving throughout the quarter. Students keep a time log and summary of their experiences then at the end of their service, they receive an evaluation from their supervisor.

It’s a relationship that benefits not only the organizations but also the students, who receive valuable work experience, learn to give back and build responsibility. Tedi Hutson, a junior who volunteers at the Red Cross, says, “It’s a great experience that has allowed me to reach out to others in a way I hadn’t been able to do before.” Terry Hackney, Red Cross executive director, echoes her thoughts and adds that student volunteers “help us out with tasks that otherwise wouldn’t be done.”

So far WWVA has students serving at the Red Cross, the Children’s Home Society, Rogers Adventist School, the YWCA and the local soup kitchen. Anderson hopes to eventually expand the program to encompass more vocational volunteering. He’s optimistic about the success of the program, saying, “In the end, it could be one of the best things I do.”