In this chapter, we profiled two very powerful multicultural classes, which are integrated with a service-learning component in meaningful and even life-changing ways. The strong social justice theme runs like a steady stream through each of these learning experiences. Indeed, service learning done with a social justice emphasis is the perfect companion to multicultural classes. The combination of these three potent educational forces has a transformative effect on the learner and the service learning site, as well as the instructor of the class. Combining this inclusive approach to cultural history prepares the student to enter and function in a culturally and linguistically diverse site in a sensitive and resourceful manner. The combined scholarly and interculturally aware skills of the students enhance their chances of being productive and helpful in their placement. Not only is it a good experience for the student, but it also helps create and maintain good relationships with our community partners. Also, the instructor of the class is practically always enriched by integrating a strong community service component in his or her class. Thus, the ideal service-learning experience enriches the student, the community partner, and the university instructor.
We have been engaged in service-learning classes for the last 2 1/2 years at this young institution. It has been our consistent experience that profound changes occur in the learner as a result of the integration of service learning with our academic courses. A comment one of our students recently made exemplifies this for us. At about halfway through our semester in the Culture and Cultural Diversity class, a Latino student came up and said: "Dr. Martin, I have finally figured out that all this time I have been waiting for heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr. and César Chévez to arrive to take care of the mess the world is in. What I realize from this class is that that hero can be found in my own heart. It is MY responsibility!"
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