It is sometimes difficult to know who has more fun with a service learning project: the college students who design and conduct it or the children who participate in it. It’s also tough to judge who learns more during the process.
Elbow-deep in Play-Doh and black lights, medical assistant program students at Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud found the children at the after-school Rice Elementary Kids Club to be a lot of fun to educate.
The project centered around instruction on health maintenance, disease prevention, nutrition and wellness promotion, and the medical assistant program students rotated the children through three stations of activities.
Medical assistant program student, Andrea Oltz, explained, “My role was to inform the children about what the basic parts of your body do. We had the kids mold and sculpt body parts, such as the lungs, heart, eyes, stomach and brain out of Play-doh into what they thought it would look like. After they finished, we would show them what the actual body part looked like and where it was located on the anatomical mannequin.”
Brittney Larson, medical assistant program student, observed that some of the children were shocked at what their bodies look like inside.
At another station, Ansu Fofana demonstrated to children proper hand-washing techniques. First, however, the children washed themselves and then were shown under a black light all the germs that they had missed.
“The value of the project,” Fofana, medical assistant program student, said, “is to help the students to learn and experience the real world, which they can also use to educate their friends and family members.”
Oltz agreed that the project was important.
“It gave us an opportunity to reach out to the community and offer some information about what we do. This was also good for the students to learn more about their body and how it works.”
Sauk Rapids-Rice Community Education Youth Development Coordinator Rich Spiczka understands the mutual benefit of the service learning experience.
“The biggest value in this project is the elementary students getting some background knowledge and also doing what we can to give back by providing an arena for MSB students to get some experience,” he said.
The medical assistant program students were proud of the results of the event. “It came out great and the kids loved it,” remarked Shamere Robinson, who helped run the nutrition station.
“It is important for us to get comfortable with reaching out to the community,” added Oltz, “considering we will be doing it every day in our future careers.”
Plus, she added, “I had a lot of fun!”