Photo/Story: 1SG (Ret.) Raymond Eason & SSG (Ret.) Terry Buckhannon
On March 19th, 2023, Garfield High School Army JROTC completed its second service learning project, collecting over 1000 cups of soup for homeless veterans in Los Angeles County. In partnership with Mr. Larry Wong, MC Center for Development and Civic Engagement Manager for VA Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center. the Mighty Bulldawg Battalion was able to execute its SMART goals and collected 1147 different cups of soup, exceeding our initial goal of 1000.
The service learning project aim was to implement a schoolwide donation, encouraging staff, faculty, the student body, members of the community, and alumni to provide quick and fulfilling meals for the homeless in Los Angeles County. In addition, we are fortunate to have Mr. Andres Favela Principal, Mrs. Hillary Herrington Assistant Principal, and Mr. Joel Ravela Assistant Principal JROTC Coordinator for their genuine concern for this very important outreach.
Service learning is a continuous every day process that encourages cadets to serve and achieve personal growth enrichment. Service Learning goes beyond a Regulation and Unit Report requirement and has become integrated into cadets’ personal growth plans as cadets participate in experimental learning to learn and apply service learning skills to succeed in their academics, build critical thinking skills, and learn compassion as they become more involved in their communities across the country. Fortunately, JROTC units across the country and overseas have implemented their own service learning projects.
When asked, “As you reflect, what were the most significant parts of the project to you?” C/MSG Kelia Naranjo-Champion- Project Facilitator responded,
“The most significant part of the project was getting together as a team for a worthy common cause, and addressing one of many issues plaguing the homeless veterans of Los Angeles County. A big aspect of service learning was for our Cadets to gain a greater understanding of the service learning process and develop critical-thinking skills, while making a direct impact on a community. To actually witness, Staff, Faculty, students, etc. giving back to the less fortunate, has deeply influenced the lives of our cadets’ well-being and personal growth. From this phenomenal experience, they have learned that teamwork and outreach in our community is the key to a successful Service Learning Project. By the act of engaging others in this experience, through leadership, time management, winning colors, SMART goals, and utilizing classroom curriculum we have all grown immensely.”