This is the fourth installment of the spotlight on the 2019 “With Heart In Hand” volunteer award recipients.

Gettysburg Area Middle School (GAMS) eighth grade civics teachers, Carol Kessel, Alisha Sanders and Katie Thomas, nominated by Emily Knowles-Kellett, received the Adult Group Award. They have worked for years to create conditions where every eighth grade student would have the opportunity to do meaningful service in the community, allowing them to broaden their perspective, connect with their community, and recognize their own potential as difference-makers. Working with the school administration and the advisers of the PRIDE Character Education program, these teachers set the wheels in motion in 2015 to create the “PRIDE in Action” civic engagement program. Using the service-learning model of ‘preparation, action and reflection” the Civics teachers have opened doors for their students for strengthened connections with learning, socio-emotional development, and networks of support. The teachers worked during their break-time, after-school time, weekends, and summer vacation with school administrators and community partners to develop practices, policies, and expand relationships with nonprofits. Their cumulative out-of-workday hours on behalf of service-learning program is more than 100 hours. GAMS has benefited in many ways from the combined efforts of the teachers. The school has expanded and strengthened its relationships with community nonprofits. Teachers in other subject areas have become more familiar with service-learning as a teaching tool. Thanks to the dedication of the Carol, Alisha and Katie, the students are more aware of community needs, the nonprofits that address them, and ways they can help.

Vickie Corbett is the executive director of United Way of Adams County.

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