Service-Learning as a Catalyst for Community Change: An Empirical Examination Measuring the Benefits of a Life Skills Curriculum in Local At-Risk High Schools

Roxanne Helm-Stevens, Mark Dickerson, Randy Fall


This research attempts to measure the impact of service-learning on community recipients – at-risk high school students in urban Southern California. The service-learning project, an integrative, six-week assignment, involves upper-division business majors delivering the Options: Business Education and Life Skills curriculum to at-risk students in two local alternative education high schools. In addition to delivering business education and life skills, a critical design component of the curriculum is the opportunity for college students to be role models and provide mentoring guidance to at-risk high school students. This study used surveys to gather data on student perceptions of four constructs: (1) strengths and values, (2) school and work-related skills, (3) business etiquette and resume building, and (4) future life and career planning. Pre-tests and post-tests were administered to gauge differences in perception during the six-week service-learning project. Results indicated positive effects of the service-learning curriculum overall. Further, the data revealed statistically significant results with particularly noteworthy outcomes in the planning for the future and preparing for the world of work responses.

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Business and Management Research
ISSN 1927-6001 (Print)   ISSN 1927-601X (Online)

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