In celebration of National Volunteer Week, high school senior Nathan Zucker produced Advocates of Service, a series of photos and biographies profiling service leaders in his community. The series shares the portraits and stories of 18 diverse volunteers in his community – from a high school student who started a modest international non-profit organization, to a senior citizen who organizes mother/daughter math and science nights closer to home. (View the profiles here: http://flickr.com/gp/46107772@N03/Z755iT)
Nathan viewed the service-learning project as an opportunity to improve his photography skills and apply them to improving his community. He worked with adult mentors including his Advanced Photo teacher in the school’s fine arts magnet program and Michael Collopy, a commercial photographer with a humanitarian focus (see Architects of Peace) who taught Nathan tips for creating engaging, personal, and inspirational portraits.
Nathan’s own book, Advocates of Service was the culmination of his year long senior exit project, QUEST. Through QUEST, students at Irvington High School in Fremont develop a Question, work to Understand it through research, gain Experience by working with a consultant, provide a Service to their community to further understand the issue, then provide both written and oral Testimony. (Every year, each of Irvington’s 400+ seniors complete a QUEST service-learning project on their path toward graduation.)
Working with his teachers, Nathan developed a guiding question for his project: Why are non-profits in such short supply of volunteers, what are the benefits of volunteering, and how can I inspire others to volunteer? Nathan came to learn that non-profit organizations are facing tremendous challenges addressing the needs of communities during the economic crisis. He also studied the impacts of the “me” oriented society and pressures on individuals to work and care for their own families.
To address the challenge, Nathan chose to focus on volunteers in his own community. By showing volunteers of diverse ages, backgrounds, experiences, and service types, Nathan hopes to inspire others to get involved. Each profile shares the very ordinary motivations that helped people get started doing extraordinary work.
The portraits are on display at the Fremont Main Library during National Volunteer Week and Nathan has also been invited to install his work at the Alameda County Office of Education in celebration of this year’s local Art IS Education initiative: Creating Solutions for the World We Share.
Thank you Nathan Zucker for showing a simple, inspirational way to celebrate volunteers and promote volunteerism in our communities!
Service-Learning Regional Lead
Alameda County Office of Education
- Give and Surf Volunteer Opportunity (osuserves.org)
- Remember the Ten Run: Still Needs Volunteers! (osuserves.org)
- Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots: Unveils Environmental Service-Learning Curriculum (osuserves.org)
- Service Above Self (thesparrowsneststl.wordpress.com)
- Service Learning: New Ethical Goals and Challenges for Universities (psychologytoday.com)
- President’s Declaration: National Volunteer Week, 2011 (osuserves.org)
- National Volunteer Week (womenscentreyr.wordpress.com)