Beyond Harter RoadStudents in all grades have opportunities to serve others through our strong mix of community service and service-learning activities. These experiences give children the chance to see a direct correlation between their actions and someone elseís well-being. Personally meaningful to participants, they are more likely to result in learning that endures.
Whatís the difference between community service and a service-learning project? Recognized as a best practice by the What Works in Character Education project, service learning is a strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities. Itís certainly not a new concept at St. Johnís; in many cases, service learning projects have developed as natural extensions of our curriculum.
- Pre-k, kindergarten and first graders collect teddy bears for donation to the Northeast Police Substation. Officers carry the bears in the trunks of their cars and give them to young children they encounter during traumatic situations. The teddy bear collection, blessing in chapel and on-site donation to the officers ties to our early-childhood curriculum about community partners and neighborhood heroes.
- Second and third graders have visited assisted-living residents at Juliette Fowler Homes to perform songs. The service emphasized teamwork while tying to the studentsí work in music classes. Second grade also supports White Rock Center of Hope with Christmas toy donations.
- As part of their study of natural disasters, third graders collect supplies for the Dallas Chapter of the American Red Cross. While collecting and donating the supplies, the students learn about how the agency assists people affected by disasters.
- Last year, fourth graders collected books that were donated to local Reinhardt Elementary School. They also supported C.C. Young at Christmas by visiting the residents, sharing handmade cards and donating useful items.
- The fifth grade teaching team has expanded its long-standing partnership with Mi Escuelita Preschool to complement the preschoolers' education, build relationships with young children and model charitable behaviors. On a rotating basis, the fifth grade classes plan activities and visit the school monthly.
- The entire sixth grade "adopted" a large family through White Rock Center of Hope, providing holiday gifts and a meal.
- Seventh graders have a tradition of service to C.C. Young Retirement Community with monthly visits and shared activities throughout the school year.
- Eighth graders have supported Dwell with Dignity, Dallas Interfaith Housing Coalition and White Rock Center of Hope.
- Through their long-standing relationship with For the Love of the Lake, eighth graders help with Saturday lake clean-ups each month.
- National Junior Honor Society members (seventh and eighth grades) raise money by selling poinsettias to sponsor Salvation Army Christmas tree angels.