Developing a Community Impact Assessment System for Short-Term Service-Learning Programs

Client: Break Away: The Alternative Break Connection
Faculty: Erica Foldy
Team: Julie A. Cornell, Karle Scroggins, Morgan Soloski, Aimee Weiss, Sara Williams
Year: 2013

Break Away, a nonprofit organization, supports the development of quality alternative break programs by providing training and information to over 170 universities and 500 nonprofit organizations and by promoting the Active Citizens movement. The organization emphasizes the impact of alternative break programs on student volunteers, but had no method for measuring impact of students’ work on the community partner organizations and host communities in which they serve. The Capstone team interviewed and surveyed student chapters, community partner organizations, Break Away staff and board members to assess their capacity for measuring impact, and performed an environmental scan of current assessment practices within the service-learning field. At Break Away’s Atlanta headquarters, the team facilitated a theory of change workshop to articulate their vision for community impact. The team created tools, user guides and an implementation plan for Break Away to measure qualitative and quantitative impact on community partner organizations and host communities.