Team Name: Maddie and Vyana
Project Title: Serve Your Community
Write-Up: When beginning the research for this project, ways to improve our school was our main focus. We wanted to choose a problem not just in the community, but in our everyday lives as we are both high school students. We looked at attendance, tardies, and graduation rates to try to identify a problem. When looking at graduation rates, we found that many students are at risk not to graduate because they don’t meet the requirements. After speaking with multiple students, it became clear that this was a common issue among them. One of the requirements that we thought we could assist with was fulfilling the community service requirement. We found that most students who had not met the minimum hour requirement had no idea where to go or how to find volunteer jobs. What these students lacked was a place to figure out hour opportunities. To combat this issue we created a user-friendly app that allows a student to enter their desired hours and where they would like to complete the hours and have a host of opportunities pop up. This helps students who perhaps have jobs or family responsibilities that limit their available hours. It also alleviates transportation concerns, as students can pick volunteer sites at their school. In this experience our biggest challenge was the research portion and finding students willing to talk to us. Guidance Counselors have the information, but they are not able to discuss student files. We had to rely on our teachers and friends connecting us with Seniors so that we could find out their concerns. It gave us a new appreciation for the art of conducting research. In the future, we would use a Google Form to survey even a larger base. We also learned that there are many places that need volunteers, but there is a lack of a central place to advertise for help. Many opportunities are last minute efforts to help out which makes it hard for a high school student with other obligations. This app benefits both the students who need volunteer hours, as well as the organizations who need volunteers. After completing the research, the design, the code, and the presentation really fell into place beautifully.