Community Service Learning

Environmental Protection | Elementary Education | Social Welfare | Senior Services

After you have completed a course of study in English gain real world experience while practicing fluency. The Community Service Learning program may be the ideal class for you to deepen your understanding of yourself as a member of the world community while volunteering alongside Americans to serve in social and environmental issues.


Environmental Protection

The United States is known as the largest energy consumer in the world. Volunteers in this program assist community organizations with a focus on educating Americans about saving energy, recycling, and the heath and environment benefits of organic foods.

At the Ecology Center (EC), volunteers are responsible for a variety of tasks, from helping in the center store and library to assisting with special events around the city. ESI volunteers may help with answering recycling system inquiries, maintaining store inventory and mailing, setting up special environmental lectures, making Farmers Market displays, and other Ecology Center sponsored events such as the Earth Day Festival, the Indigenous Peoples’ Pow Wow, or Spice of Life Festival. Volunteers may help with Berkeley High School students in the organic garden to promote understanding of sustainable agriculture.

Sample Class Schedule

10am - 12pm: Seminar
1pm - 3pm: Energy audits for Cal Youth energy Services
3pm - 5pm: Gardening in BYA Garden
5pm - 7pm: Project Team Meeting



Elementary Education

Elementary Education is offered at various locations depending on availability, including public elementary schools in Berkeley, Albany and surrounding communities.

At elementary schools in Berkeley and surrounding communities, volunteers serve as classroom assistants in grades 1 to 5. They help children with English and math assignments, assist with art projects, play with children on the schoolyard, and assist the teacher in the general operations of the class. Volunteers may assist with small groups of elementary children, giving attention to individual students, and help with special student projects. The classroom teacher assigns ESI volunteers to projects appropriate to their level of English proficiency.

Sample Daily Schedule

9AM - 12PM: Assist in elementary school classroom
12pm - 1pm: Eat lunch & playground activities
1pm - 2pm: Assist in classroom
3pm - 5pm: Seminar with ESI instructor in Berkeley
5pm - 7pm: Project Team Meeting



Social Welfare

ESI volunteers perform much of their service at Glide Memorial Church in downtown San Francisco. Glide’s comprehensive programs seek to provides services for many different kinds of people, from youth, to single parents, to senior citizens and the homeless. Glide is a national leader in community service and has been visited several times by former President Bill Clinton, President Elect Barak Obama and many other prominent members of the community.

ESI volunteers participate in a variety of ways. Glide provides three meals a day to the hungry and our volunteers assist in the dining room. Helping with the very demanding lunch/dinner service in which over 1200 homeless attend per day is an eye-opening experience. Volunteers participate in special meetings for seniors. Depending on their language level, volunteers may plan and give a presentation about their lives in their home country to a senior group; low intermediate volunteers may demonstrate a craft (origami or calligraphy) to the seniors. Volunteers also serve as class assistants in the after school youth program. They help school aged children with homework (advanced English proficiency volunteers), read to them, and assist with art projects (low intermediate English proficiency volunteers).

Sample Daily Schedule

8:30am: Take BART to San Francisco with escort
9:30am - 10:15am: Set up materials for presentation
10:15am - 11:45am: Senior social Circle -
Advanced Students give an oral presentation about culture
Intermediate students demonstrate a craft of game
12pm - 1:30pm: Help serve more than 200 lunches to homeless people in cafeteria
2pm: Return to Berkeley with escort
3pm - 5pm: Internship Seminar with ESI instructor in Berkeley
5pm - 7pm: Project Team Meeting



Senior Services

Senior Services is offered at various locations in Berkeley and surrounding communities depending on availability. Volunteering with senior citizens who are 65 years old or older requires patience and clear communication skills, but is very rewarding as these elders have a wealth of life experience and cultural knowledge to share.

At local senior centers, ESI volunteers take part in classes in which seniors dance for exercise, make ceramic arts or write about their lives. Volunteers interview seniors and write a short essay about them, share stories about their own lives in their home country, assist with meal programs by setting up the dining room and serving lunch, and have informal conversation with seniors.

Sample Daily Schedule

9am - 12pm: Interview selected seniors for research project
11am - 12pm: Give cultural presentation
12pm - 1pm: Lunch service for seniors in cafeteria
1pm - 1:40pm: Assist staff with clean-up
3pm - 5pm: Seminar with ESI instructor in Berkeley
7pm - 9pm: Project Team Meeting

Students Serving Meals at Glide Memorial


Serve the Community and Practice English!




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