Service is one of the primary ways in which we draw explicit connections between the classroom and the wider world. An excellent lens for understanding equity and injustice, it provides the chance for us to give back to the region that supports us so generously. Service also encourages our students to develop a wider, more complex sense of community through direct action.
Our Middle School Community Service program offers a chance for our Middle School students to deepen their personal understanding of the purpose and value of offering one’s time and talents for the benefit of others. Our program helps them discover ways in which they can build relevant, personally-meaningful service experiences into their own lives. Sixth and seventh graders participate in a series of Community Hour presentations, self-discovery and advocacy workshops, small-scale service projects, and panel discussions with representatives from local organizations; eighth grade students also have the opportunity to select an off-campus service opportunity, in preparation for their participation in the Upper School program.
Our Upper School Community Service program specifically asks students to engage with organizations helping right here in greater Seattle. From the center of our beautiful campus, it can be easy to think that hunger, homelessness, or ecological damage only happen far away, but we want our students to understand otherwise and be part of the solution right here at home.
We value and honor all kinds of volunteer work, but for school credit, hours must be completed in direct service to a local organization whose primary purpose or activity is community service. Students who have questions about whether a chosen activity meets these requirements are encouraged to contact the program coordinator prior to volunteering.
We also ask that students choose organizations whose volunteer membership is broadly inclusive. Exceptions put in place by specific organizations do exist, but generally, our students must earn their individual hours through opportunities in which any qualifying student could participate.
A few examples of our diverse service projects:
- Assist food bank clients at North Helpline and Ballard Food Bank
- Sort and package thousands of pounds of bulk food with Northwest Harvest
- Restore public bike trails at Duthie Park with Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance
- Provide social interaction for women and children living without secure housing at Mary’s Place
- Sing, dance, and lead movement activities with elders at Sunrise of Northgate and Foss Home and Village
- Make quilts and chew toys for animals at Seattle Humane Society
- Repair and restore bicycles for donation to BikeWorks
- Upper School service days: Several times a year, our Upper School students, faculty, and staff spend a full day volunteering around Seattle with more than 30 different partner organizations.
- Community Time: Sessions throughout the year are dedicated to speakers and presenters, workshops, and other topics related to helping students develop meaningful, personally-relevant relationships with local service organizations.
- Graduation requirement: Upper School students need to complete twenty hours of approved community service each year. They receive credit hours for a portion of each all-school service day they attend, and remaining hours are earned independently working for approved organizations providing direct service to our local community.
- Student Organizations: Members of the Students of Service Club organize frequent service events where students can explore a variety of experiences, have fun with peers, and earn service hours.