Hadassah Academic College's Above and Beyond program aims to provide student participants with the knowledge and skills needed to initiate innovative and viable community service projects. The program emphasizes developing leadership skills among students while also instilling in them a sense of community involvement and responsibility. Above and Beyond is much more than your average community service project- instead, it aims to instill a long term commitment to volunteerism, with many students continuing to serve the community and their chosen projects well past their graduation from the College.
Each student in the Above and Beyond program participates over a three-year period corresponding with the course of his/her undergraduate studies.
The "Above and Beyond" Honors Program operates within the framework of the College's Office of the Dean of Students.
The Program aims to develop the student participants' leadership skills through innovative volunteering at community programs throughout Jerusalem.
Activities take place on a three-year cycle.
Students are enlisted from all academic departments within the College. All have some prior experience in volunteering and community involvement, and all demonstrated a desire to initiate new forms of community involvement.
During the first semester, the Program offers a series of seven, four-hour presentations focusing on issues related to social involvement and community leadership. Students also visit community non-profit agencies to understand the relevant issues.
Students are placed at community non-profit associations for 2-3 hours per week. The students participate in one of two activities that members of the group initiate.
The year 2 group's activities focus on planning new and innovative community activities beginning with defining goals continuing through to preparing a budget. The students are encouraged to implement their plan using the tools learned during the second semester of Year 1. This includes defining mission and goals and SWOT analysis, i.e., understanding the organization, its goals, its needs, and target population.
Year 3 group activities
The goal of Year 3 is to examine the pilot projects initiated by students in their second year of the Program, and develop an action plan as to how their own social initiatives can continue following the students' graduation.
Last academic year, students were active in three projects
1. "For the Community" – A project dedicated to improving the physical surroundings of distressed neighborhoods in downtown Jerusalem through cooperation with its residents. Work focused on upgrading gardens and common areas. The participating students benefitted from their interaction with the residents, and the residents enjoyed their interaction with the students.
2. "Youth Photograph" - This was a photography workshop offered to at-risk youth as a means to strengthen their self-esteem. The participating students enlisted first year students from the College's Department of Photographic Communications in the project who will continue to work with the youth into the second semester.
3. "A Good Word" - This was an outreach program for children living in battered women shelters who suffer from language difficulties. The participating students enlisted students plus a volunteer speech clinician from the College's Department of Communication Disorders to work with the children. This program is expected to carry on following the students' graduation.