What are student service learning projects?
The first AKF student service learning project (SSLP) came about when an elementary school teacher and her students wanted to do something to honor one of their neighbors who had kidney disease, and raise awareness of the health issue in the community. They worked closely with AKF staff to create a 3-week educational project in which the students learned about kidney disease and raised money to help patients in their community. The classrooms that raised the most even got to celebrate with a pizza party!
SSLPs are tailored to each individual school, and take place over a 3-4 week period. During the campaign students learn about the important role kidneys play in their overall health, work to spread awareness outside of their schools by interacting with their community and collect donations to help kidney patients. Students and teachers can come up with creative and fun ways to raise money, and AKF staff are there to help every step of the way!
Why kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States, and has recently risen to be the #9 cause of death. Diabetes, high blood pressure and other factors such as family history and lifestyle choices put people at risk for CKD. While 37 million Americans are currently living with the disease, 9 out of 10 don’t even know they have it. We find that at each school there are students, teachers and families who have loved ones affected by this disease. Teaching our children about the importance of kidney health and living healthy can help your students and their families prevent this disease in their lives.
The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 37 million Americans with kidney disease. Our mission is to help people fight kidney disease and live healthier lives, and we fulfill that mission by providing a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention activities, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling more than 1 in 7 U.S. kidney patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation. We invest in clinical research to improve outcomes for kidney patients, and we fight tirelessly on Capitol Hill for legislation and policies supporting the issues that are important to the people we serve.
For more information on how you can bring an AKF student service learning project to a school in your community, contact Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.855.544.2210.
Create a simple plan
Set a 3-4 week timeframe during the school year when your students will integrate learning more about kidney health and fundraising to support the mission of the American Kidney Fund. Work with the staff at AKF to set a goal and finalize your plan. Collect all the necessary materials for the program.
Form a great team
Form a small task force of teachers, counselors, parents and even students who will serve as champions for the service learning project. Meet together a few times to gather ideas and delegate any tasks associated with the project. Have the task force share their enthusiasm with your school community.
Follow the plan
Follow your plan for the project. Distribute materials to the students and their families, host the educational classes or assemblies, promote the fundraising activities you have decided upon, learn about kidney health, raise funds to help others and HAVE FUN! Connect with the AKF staff to make sure you have what you need.
At the conclusion of the project, celebrate your school’s success through announcements, thank yous, classroom awards, local press releases, social media posts to share all the learning that was accomplished and all the good your students and faculty have done for kidney patients. Make sure to have a follow-up call with AKF staff so they can share your story with the larger kidney community and encourage other schools to do the same!