Publication Date

2002

Abstract

This paper explores the possibility of creating an international service-learning opportunity for low-income participants of the YouthBuild program. It looks at why such an opportunity would be important and what form such an opportunity would take. Through an action research strategy, the paper seeks to understand better and improve the opportunity of international experience for YouthBuild participants. The investigation is framed by a focus on leadership development. Data gathered for this investigation addresses three main areas. First, it examines the impact of international experience on individuals. In particular, it looks at the potential impact of participation in an international service-learning program for people from low-income communities. Findings indicate a compelling connection between participation in international service-learning programs and leadership development, as well as development in other areas. Secondly, this paper looks into the conceptual components that would form the foundation for an international service-learning program. Data is gathered through literature reviews in the fields of global education, service-learning, and experiential education. Philosophical, strategic, practical, and reflective frameworks are considered for the development of an international service-learning program with a focus on leadership development. Finally, this study presents a detailed model of an international service-learning program for YouthBuild participants. The model, entitled PILLARS, consists of a training period, an international period, and a follow-up period. It centers on a month in Ghana, where participants would be immersed in intensive educational and cultural workshops as well as a service project: building affordable housing in a low-income Ghanaian community.

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