50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary of Calvin College's Service-Learning Center



Chapel Service
February 19, 2014
Watch it here!

Summer Celebration
June 6 and 7, 2014

Read the Spark and Chimes articles!

In 2014, the Service-Learning Center marked fifty years of God’s faithfulness to Calvin College and the community. We began the festivities with stories shared online, we fulfilled it with stories shared in person at a June anniversary event. May these stories inspire another fifty years of service-learning.


In 1964, the Beatles made their first appearance on American television. Lyndon B. Johnson was president. Race riots rocked Harlem, Rochester, Philadelphia, and New York. Calvin College, though in transition, still occupied the corner of Benjamin and Franklin, home to two impassioned co-eds with a fresh vision for community service. At the encouragement of their faculty mentors, the college juniors started KIDS (Kindling Intellectual Desire in Students), a tutoring program pairing Calvin volunteers with students from Sigsbee Elementary.

Jan Vandenbosch Veenstra and Sharon Draft Slager

The mission of the program begun by Jan Vandenbosch Veenstra and Sharon Draft Slager in 1964 has continually expanded. Already in 1967, its services spread beyond education, and in 1980, the name changed to reflect its broader goals. KIDS became Student Volunteer Service, and then the Service-Learning Center in 1993. Through three names and fifty years, the Service-Learning Center has connected Calvin College and the broader community, investing in students and neighborhoods in Grand Rapids and all over the world.

Service-learning now forms an integral part of the Calvin experience for many students, undertaken by student groups and organizations, in conjunction with coursework as academically-based service-learning, through their residence hall partnerships, on spring break trips, and as a part of orientation for every incoming student.

Over the past fifty years, the program and the people behind it have done faithful and excellent work and have received wide recognition for it, from the 1970 State of Michigan “Outstanding Volunteer Award” to a place on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The greater credit, however, is the service-learning now done by Calvin College students and alumni all over the world. More information on this can be found in our annual reports. In the coming fifty years, the S-LC endeavors to inspire more creative, faithful work in generations of students, alumni and friends of Calvin College, striving to offer our hearts, minds, hands and feet to God promptly and sincerely.

Student playing chess with boy

Alumni Profiles

See stories of God’s faithfulness to and through Service-Learning Center alumni, and how their experience at the S-LC has influenced their lives post- graduation.

The past 10... here's to 50 more!

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008






2009 2010 2011 2012 2013