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Community Service as Values Education

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Involving students in community-service learning requires campus pro­ gram coordinators and community-agency staff to collaborate in program development. Often, because service-learning programs and community organizations have different goals and priorities, separate constituencies, and even varied organizational cultures, they design their programs independently and at cross-purposes. When this occurs, neither organization achieves its goals for students or for the community. Successful service-learning programs bridge this gap between "town and gown" by cultivating a spirit of reciprocity, interdependence, and collaboration. When carefully considered, expressed, negotiated, and agreed upon, the needs and resources of each organization become complementary and mutually enhancing. This is not easy, however. Campus and community organizations may have competing goals, timetables, and agendas. Nevertheless, from the authors' experiences both on campuses and in communities following a program-design model and asking certain essential questions are the keys to establishing programs that effectively serve campus, community, and students.