We made it! Our students learned some crucial information literacy skills, helped solve a community problem (illiteracy) and turned in a pretty solid research portfolio to Project READ. Yesterday, we met one final time this quarter to reflect as a group, along with Becky Garvin, Director of Project READ and Cathy Sayer, Director of Service-Learning at Wright State University. In preparation for this reflection, the students write responses to 4 or 5 reflection prompts. Then we discuss as a group what they have learned about information literacy, about themselves and about their community. Each student told our guests about one of the best sources they found about fundraising. Becky explained that any information the students found will be helpful for them to inform their decision making about future fundraising. She and her staff members will be able to make better choices about how to spend their time and resources. Even if the information we found confirms what they already know - it will be just that, a confirmation that they're doing the right thing. Or, it will be a reminder. The students reflections' were, for the most part, mature and thoughtful. They were able to talk through their inability to wrap their heads around the fact that some people skate through school without learning to read at an appropriate level. They are shocked that 200,000 people in our county alone have limited literacy skills. Becky helped them understand how this is possible, by explaining, first, that just because someone can't read, that doesn't mean they aren't intelligent. She also explained that some people don't grow up with reading role models like our students did. And people who can't read very well develop coping skills. For example, they will often ask people to read things for them, claiming that they have forgotten their glasses. Becky also asked the students a very important question: "Now that you've been in this service-learning class, do you see yourself volunteering in the future? How did it affect your attitude about volunteering?" At least three of the four students were very enthusiastic about volunteering in the future (verbally, anyway). It's always a little amazing to me how our students come to us often with a very poor attitude. Our class is a two-credit elective, so they don't put much stock into it at first. And in the end, they are always impressed by how much they learn. It makes the journey worth it...even if it's a long and bumpy ride along the way. Perhaps some of our students, current and past, tell us what they think we want to hear. But I believe a majority of them are genuinely surprised at how much they learn.