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Community Service: Reflection Activities for Leaders of Volunteers

If you advise or lead a group of UCSD volunteers, use these resources to help students reflect on their volunteer service.

These questions and activities incorporate the 7 critical values of social change model of leadership.

  • Discussion

    After students complete their volunteer service, ask open-ended questions to stimulate discussion:
    • What does the agency do well? What would you like to see done differently?
    • What did you learn about the issue the agency addresses or the population it serves?
    • Have you learned a skill or clarified an interest? How can you apply it?
    • What have you learned about yourself?
    • In what ways were your stereotypes or assumptions challenged?
    • How has this service experience supported your values?
    • Would you want to serve with this organization again?
    • How responsive is this organization to community needs?
    • What about your experience can you share with your peers or fellow volunteers/ activists?
  • What?
    So what?
    Now what?

    Have everyone answer three questions in writing, in writing then sharing, and in open discussion.
    • What did we do, see, hear, smell, touch, taste?
    • So what does it all mean?
    • Now what? Where do I/ we go from here?
  • Free-write

    Give volunteers a few minutes to write their feelings about the project.
    • Ask for volunteers to share in small groups what they have written.
  • Artistic expression

    • Pass out crayons and paper. Have participants draw their feelings about the project or what they experienced.
    • Emphasize that artistic skill is irrelevant.
    • Invite participants to share their drawings.
  • Graffiti boards

    Use newsprint around the room as graffiti boards and ask participants to respond to thoughtful questions, quotes, or statistics.
  • Sentence stems

    Read some sentence stems aloud and have participants write and/ or share their thoughts. Examples:
    • Today I learned ...
    • What surprised me about today was ...
    • The most challenging thing about today was ...
    • The best thing about today was ...
  • Travel time

    Make use of travel time by implementing reflective activities on the bus or in a car.
  • Notecards

    Ask students to write questions that arose from their service experience on notecards.
    • Place the notecards in the center of the circle in a pile.
    • Ask each student to draw a card and respond to the question.
  • String game

    Have participants stand in a circle. Give one person a ball of string.
    • Ask the person with the string to talk about his or her experience, then throw the ball of string to another group member while holding onto the end of the string.
    • Leaders and participants ask the person now holding the ball of string a question about his or her experience.
    • Have participants continue to toss the ball and share their responses.
    • When everyone has had a turn, process the exercise by pointing out the pattern that has emerged in the string.
    • Emphasize the connections that were made and the role each person had in the finished design.
    • You can use this as a metaphor for community and to illustrate the importance each person's actions has on others.


Contact: Ryan Crawford, (858) 822-4762.