Volunteering at an Urban Mission

Illustration Elements

Illustration Éléments

Illustration Sub-competencies


The Teacher’s Voice

I took my class to volunteer at a local urban mission (a non-profit organization located in an area of high poverty, homelessness, substance abuse and crime). This student knew that he would be writing a reflective paragraph in class the next day, but the experience had such impact on him that he felt a need to do a think-aloud reflection at home that evening and to capture it on video for classmates.


Student Reflection Video

Teacher Reflection

I observed a change in perspective in this student after he volunteered at the urban mission.  He became more aware that people who are homeless are not always sad. They laugh, socialize, develop close relationships with one another, and care about each other. He now has a very different perspective.


I can evaluate and use well-chosen evidence to develop interpretations; identify alternatives, perspectives, and implications; and make judgments. I can examine and adjust my thinking.

I can ask questions and offer judgments, conclusions, and interpretations supported by evidence I or others have gathered. I am flexible and open-minded; I can explain more than one perspective and consider implications. I can gather, select, evaluate, and synthesize information. I consider alternative approaches and make strategic choices. I take risks and recognize that I may not be immediately successful. I examine my thinking, seek feedback, reassess my work, and adjust. I represent my learning and my goals and connect these to my previous experiences. I accept constructive feedback and use it to move forward.


I can examine evidence from various perspectives to analyze and make well-supported judgments about and interpretations of complex issues.

I can determine my own framework and criteria for tasks that involve critical thinking. I can compile evidence and draw reasoned conclusions. I consider perspectives that do not fit with my understandings. I am open-minded and patient, taking the time to explore, discover, and understand. I make choices that will help me create my intended impact on an audience or situation. I can place my work and that of others in a broader context. I can connect the results of my inquiries and analyses to action. I can articulate a keen awareness of my strengths, my aspirations and how my experiences and contexts affect my frameworks and criteria. I can offer detailed analysis, using specific terminology, of my progress, work and goals.