Service Reflection

All participating Chicago Youth Service Day groups are encouraged to take time and reflect on their service project after completion and before heading to the CYSD Rally at Grant Park Grove #4.  Click on the link to access the 2014 CYSD Service Reflection Packet, or read below for further instructions.


Personal and group reflection is an important concept of service learning. Scholars at Santa Monica College assert that critical reflection is one key component that helps students transform their service experience into real-world learning.  Youth Service America, a leading national service organization for youth explain the significance of reflection:

Structured reflection helps youth acknowledge the connections between their service-learning experiences, the academic content and their personal goals. Service-learning research indicates that good reflection activities are continuous, connected, guided, allow feedback and assessment, and help to clarify student values. Students are given the time to think about how they relate to the community need they identify, the actions they undertake, the impact they are able to effect in the community and how they can be change agents, and the effectiveness of their service and learning activities.


At the culmination of your service activity on Chicago Youth Service Day, we encourage you to engage your students in a 20 minute reflection about the experience and its meaning.  Below you will find a series of questions to talk through with your students.  Here are some tips for utilizing this resource:

  1. If you have a group larger than 20 we suggest breaking them into small groups of 10-15 for the activity and discussion.
  2. Choose one or two questions from each section (moving from Objective, to Reflective to Interpretive and ending with Decisional).
  3. After this discussion, each student should be given a half sheet with an image of a person that they can fill in with their own slogan/commitment based on the decisional set of questions.  They should then bring their image to the rally to post on the box in the center of the Rally.


  • What did we do today?
  • Describe a person you saw or encountered today?
  • Tell us about something you heard today.


  • Why do you think we did this project today?
  • Did anything surprise you?
  • What did you expect to happen?
  • What did you enjoy the most about today?
  • What kind of person were you today?
  • Was our service today important?  Why?


  • What did you learn today?
  • Did this experience impact you in any way?
  • What impact did you make through your service?
  • Do you think our work today contributed to making Chicago stronger in any way?
  • Does this experience raise or leave you with any questions?
  • What images come to mind when you think about the service you did today?

DECISIONAL: Before asking these questions to the group, show them the image of the person holding a sign.  Let them know they’ll each have an opportunity design a sign stating what they are committing to and what they hope to see change in their community.

  • If we were to do another service project, what should we do differently?
  • What can we do to continue creating a stronger Chicago?
  • What hopes do you have for your community?
  • What can you do to make the things you hope for come true?
  • What do you stand for?  What is important to you?
  • What do you believe in?  What makes your community good?
  • What kind of change will you commit to making in your own life