Do Service Well

Community Action Volunteer 101

Service creates space for individuals to exist in community with others, to learn about and respond to dynamic needs, to think creatively and dig deep. At the Pace Center we believe that being of service means we are perpetual learners, committing time to understand the issues that matter most to us, working to ensure we are well prepared for the role we will play in communities, and creating space to process the impact our experience has on those we serve and ourselves. 

As we work to connect students to experiential opportunities to sustain meaningful and lasting change, we feel it is important to ensure they have the knowledge and skills that support meaningful work and positive impact. Throughout all our programs, we aim to foster a culture of social responsibility that inspires students to create systemic change in order to build an equitable and just world. 

Pace Center Learning Outcomes

Value Alignment

Students align their values with their positive contributions to the common good.

Cultivating Relationships

Students acquire a deep awareness of the societal issues that lead them to build relationships with others rooted in empathy, humility, and respect.

Social Responsibility

Students respond to the needs of the world in responsible and attentive ways.

  Awareness Practice Integration
Value Alignment Students will be able to identify their personal values and connect them to why they serve and how to serve well, and what they learn from service. Students will know how to use experiences to develop and use their strengths, skills, and voice.  Students will know how to integrate service into their academic, personal, and professional pursuits. Students will be able to think critically about how to engage with communities. 
Cultivation of Relationships Students will include people who are different from themselves, seek out community knowledge, and plan and communicate accordingly. Students will recognize inequities in power and privilege related to race, gender, sexuality, and income as they engage in service that provides potentially challenging experiences.  Students will be able to identify appropriate points of engagement with communities as a result of understanding the complexities of societal issues and nuances of historical context.
Social Responsibility Students will know that there are different service pathways and can articulate what they are exploring and why. Students will develop goals and plans specific to their service that measure the benefits to community and self while continuously elevating community voices and reflecting on progress.  Students will know how to apply best practices for strategic engagement with communities, support others in doing so, and scale their efforts by connecting to civil institutions.

Partnership Principles

Preparation as a Continual Practice

Take the time to get to know one another. Start small and build. Ask each other what knowledge, skills, perspectives and self-reflection might support your partnership. Work toward an increased understanding of each others’ needs and assets. 

Communicate Early and Often 

Practice active listening with humility and respect to hear and connect with each other. Acknowledge your own positionality, assumptions and perspectives. Strive to reach a shared understanding about the nature of the work you are doing together through clear and consistent communication.

Approach Service with Integrity

Show up for each other and be fully present. Practice follow-through and commitment to your shared mission and mutual growth. Be candid about challenges that arise and be accountable to each other. Celebrate things that work well and share in the successes.

Cultivate Equity in Partnerships

Recognize that in any relationship there are going to be power dynamics. What’s important is to understand, acknowledge, and leverage them in ways that ensure positive impact. Do no harm; make sure your efforts are promoting the strengths or best interests of the community. 


Field Guide to Service

 How do you do service well? Here are some simple steps and exercises to help you prepare, engage and reflect effectively. 


At the Pace Center we believe a critical component to doing service well is being well planned and well prepared.