Sukkot Begins at Sunset
The Community Service Program reflects our community’s belief that education is a rich, subtle exploration and questioning of the world, not a means to an end. The program provides optional opportunities for students to encounter and examine the needs and complexities, both local and global, of our ever-changing world and to respond creatively with their intellects, time, talents, and skills.
History and Overview
The formal Community Service Program and Community Service Seminar were initiated in 2004 and have grown organically since then. The multi-faceted program has expanded to include the Justice Project, an Environmentalism/Sustainability Seminar, an annual clothing swap, annual bake sales to benefit a select number of non-profits chosen by our students, a rooftop garden, a Secret Garden, a magazine called Dirt, and much more. Most projects are student-driven and include opportunities for engagement by individuals or large groups. Students often come to the coordinator seeking a volunteer opportunity for a semester, year, or summer and are given advice and assistance in the application process.
Where a curricular connection may exist, the program engages a growing number of students and faculty with hands on (and minds on!) service-learning experiences. Our students have an implicit understanding of the impact of their actions and usually share their insights organically, before, during and after an event. They also write periodic articles about community service for the school newspaper The Ram. As we move forward we want to be more intentional about engaging the students in a dialogue about the impact their service has on others and the impact it has on them as artists, poets, mathematicians, writers, scientists, and musicians. We are creating a space on the webpage for the students to describe their acts of service, exhibit photos, incorporate videos of the projects and fieldwork they do. These exhibits will offer a glimpse of the opportunities available to students and a forum for discussion of the pressing issues that need attention, such as hunger/nutrition, income disparity, homelessness, education, autism, the elderly, refugees, and environmental issues.