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Students Planning Teaching Careers Show Unusually Strong Resolve To Help Others, New Survey Shows

April 24, 2000 -- Future teachers demonstrate a deep commitment to helping others, a new University of Virginia poll shows.

In the first survey of volunteer service provided by students in U.Va.'s Curry School of Education, respondents indicated significant involvement in community activities. The 218 survey participants indicated that they contributed a total of 28,594 hours of community service over 10 months, from January through November, 1999. The average number of hours of volunteer service reported by each student over the period was more than 100 hours.

The most popular areas of service included volunteering as coaches for such area youth teams as soccer, volleyball and baseball; serving as camp counselors; tutoring children and adults; engaging in church or synagogue activities; and participating in programs run through Madison House.

The survey shows that the Curry School students contributed a total of 4,972 hours to athletic, recreational and camp programs; 4,145 hours to church or synagogue activities, which included teaching, child care, food and clothing drives; and 4,074 hours to tutoring adults and children. The students also contributed 3,181 hours to medical or health concerns by volunteering at such sites as hospitals, nursing homes, rescue squads or crisis centers, and they contributed 3,122 hours in the Big Brother, Big Sister and the Big Sibling program run through Madison House, the office that coordinates student volunteerism at U.Va.

"The students provided remarkable service," said Sandra B. Cohen, director of teacher education in the Curry School, who undertook the survey as part of a pilot program exploring a new accreditation method in teacher-education programs. "The numbers make me realize how

lucky we are in the community to have such actively involved students who provide continuous, caring service. These volunteer hours are over and above the many hours each week education students spend in the local schools as part of their teacher-preparation program."

Those surveyed include traditionally aged students who are in the Curry School’s five-year program that leads to the simultaneous awarding of both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Also surveyed were older students in the two-year Master of Teaching program, a full-time program for those who hold bachelor’s degrees but who have no education background.

Nearly 84 percent of the students graduating in 2000 responded to the survey, which was administered during class. The average number of hours each student in the 2000 class volunteered in 1999 was just over 100 hours. Approximately 75 percent of the students in the 2001 class participated in the survey; each reported an average of slightly more than 113 hours of service.

Several students indicated that they volunteered 1,000 or more hours in 1999. "I’m not really sure how I manage to spend 40-plus hours a week with high school kids and manage my classes," said Megan M. Arthur, who contributed about 1,150 hours of service during the survey period. She serves as a soccer coach at Monticello High School, mentors high school students and volunteers with Young Life, a nondenominational Christian outreach program.

"It’s been a test of my prioritizing skills and organizational skills, [but ] I love high school kids. I just have a heart for them. I want to spend the rest of my life serving them," said Arthur, a third-year English and education major.

"The survey results clearly demonstrate that those entering the teaching profession are caring, committed people," Cohen said.

Each year about 3,000 U.Va. students contribute approximately 110,000 hours of service through the independent, non-profit organization, Madison House, its executive director, Cindy Fredrick, noted. "This survey continues to highlight the high level of commitment U.Va. students have to service in our community," Fredrick said.

In recognition of the new information about the extent of outreach performed by Curry School students, Cohen has nominated those who have contributed 100 or more hours of service for the Presidential Student Service Challenge Award. Bestowed by the White House, the award recognizes students who demonstrate extraordinary service in a year.

For more information, contact: Sandra Cohen at (804) 924-0769, Cindy Fredrick at (804) 977-7051, or Megan Arthur at (804) 923-3601.

Contact: Ida Lee Wootten, (804) 924-6857

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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