Strong Minds. Kind Hearts.

Community Service

From class activities to annual all-school exercises, learning how to be a tool for change.

During Peace Week, the entire Middle School community participates in Hunger Awareness Day. In addition to learning more about hunger issues on Long Island, the community shares a simple meal to raise funds for a designated organization working in this field.

Each class follows up by putting together a food basket for a family in need, and some of our students help out at the local sorting center. A Christmas toy drive collects gifts for local children, especially teenagers. In the spring, the Middle School designates a single community service day where many of our students volunteer their physical labor and boundless energy to support local organizations and to raise money for more distant ones.

Sixth and Seventh grades

In addition to these all school events, each grade level also engages in their own service projects. The sixth grade read-a-thon takes a skill all the children have and transforms it, and them, into a tool for change. In the spring, the sixth grade class organizes a community carwash to raise money for the Heifer Project.

The annual walkathon draws entirely on the skills of seventh graders. Within a few weeks in the spring, the Seventh grade students research possible local recipients for the proceeds of the annual walkathon, select an organization with which to work, produce an informative newsletter for the rest of the community, collect and collate sponsor forms, set up the course, run the stations during in the activity and calculate the money owed by each participant at the end of the afternoon. The whole event is an exercise in empowerment and a source of great pride when the proceeds are presented.

Eighth grade

The Middle School experience closes with the eighth grade volunteering for a day at the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged. Although initially assigned to a task, as the day unfolds, the students are more loosely structured and each finds his or her own way to contribute, drawing on their own strengths and interests. One will work all day with pre-schoolers, another with students their own age with cerebral palsy. One will teach a single deaf child to play golf, yet another will spend the day as a statistics runner, conveying performance results from the field to the office. Almost all will at some point step unbidden into an activity where they see they are needed, and many will at some point sit in the stands and cheer as the kids give their all in the races. This single day is exhausting, fulfilling and for some a pivotal experience, but for many the transforming experience is more subtle; a quietly developing expectation of service involvement which leaves them ready for the plethora of opportunities in the Upper School.