Service Learning Project

Throughout the course, as a class we had to engage in a service-learning project. Service-learning is a teaching and learning approach that incorporates community service with academic study, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. The goal of service-learning is to strengthen both NYIT students with local communities into building collaborative partnerships in order to meet community needs. This project is offered in Foundations of Inquiry because through this course we achieve research and critical thinking skills that helps us enrich our knowledge in order to help others.

As a school we partnered with a non-profit organization called Lets-Talk-Safety, which is oriented towards substance abuse programs targeted to teens between the ages of 13-18. The president of this organization is Felecia Pullen, who we collaborated with in order to give out surveys and collect data within Harlem.

In groups of three or four, we collected data through a community survey that basically asked questions regarding students experiences with substances such as alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and prescription drugs. The day I went with my group, it snowed, so we got to the school as soon as students were heading home. We decided to remain as a group and approach groups of students to hand in the surveys. Some were in a hurry because it was snowing or they simply just wanted to avoid us. Most of the students were willing to take the surveys for us, so as soon as their group saw one of them take the survey that would motivate others to do the same. What helped us the most was convincing at least one person to take it, which would lead others to do the same. If one would say no, then the rest would also avoid taking it. As a group our goal was to collect 30 surveys each in order to reach the class goal. Although we each collected between 20-30 surveys we did in fact reach the goal as a class.

Once the data was collected, it was our responsibility to enter the data into an online assessment tool that compiled the information and directly presented the findings to the S.A.F.E In Harlem board. Even though the data was primary data, since we each went to the location and physically handed in the surveys to students, we can never be 100% percent sure that the answers are reliable. Students could have easily circled random answers in order to leave as soon as possible or they could have answered questions according to how much they wanted to let the organization know about them. Another issue I found that could have altered the data was the names of the drugs. I feel that students probably had not heard of those drugs and perhaps there could have been a way to make it clearer for them what they were.

I relate this project with the discipline of Statistics, because it is important to learn how to take reliable data in order to formulate conclusions to approach a solution to a question; in this case a concern. The question was how much are teens between the ages of 13-18 exposed to substance abuse environments and what percent do consume these substances. A survey was put together in order to help us collect data in order to compile it and draw conclusions.


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