Community Service Stories at Saint Andrews
Posted: 22 July 2020
- Problem solving
Saint Andrew’s strives to educate globally-minded, compassionate students and servant leaders. We expect our students to build relationships with local and broader communities in order to become responsible citizens and to make an impact in the lives of others. Community service is an integral part of a Saint Andrew’s education.
A few weeks ago we started a new “series” called Community Service Stories that highlights some of the good work that our students have been doing whilst in Distance Learning during the COVID-19 lock-down.
For the last couple of months, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced our community to quickly adapt and creatively re-imagine how we deliver education and the student experience at Saint Andrew’s. Our transformation to this “new normal” continues today, and we take great pride in how our students and families, faculty, staff, and administrators have embraced such a highly dynamic and evolving environment. We are particularly proud of our students for their resilience and strength during these uncertain times.
During this period of social distancing, it has been important to us to not only keep the Saint Andrew’s School spirit alive, but to continue to foster a Spirit of Service within our students as well. With this in mind we devised the concept of our Community Service Stories – a quick, simple but effective way to promote the good deeds done by our students during these difficult times but also a great way to keep our school community connected.
The lead for each positive news story is gathered by our Round Square Representative, who is also in charge of community service at our school. He either has a personal connection to each lead, or is contacted directly by a student who would like to share their story. We then film a short video interview discussion using Zoom and write a short article to feature on our website, which we then share on our social media platforms to ensure maximum coverage.
So far, we have covered the following stories:
Claire Cares for the Community: Claire, along with help from family members, is collecting and donating “snack bags” for the aggrandisement of the Delray Achievement Center. With programming ranging from toddler care, VPK, and a host of after-school opportunities for school children of varying ages, the Achievement Center is widely known in Palm Beach County as an incredibly important and effective non-profit. When Claire heard that the COVID crisis necessitated an even greater need for meals and snacks to be disseminated to the food insecure via the Achievement Center, she immediately sprung into action. As can be seen in our recent interview with Claire and Owen (click here), her family has been incredibly successful in procuring scores of snack bags on behalf of the organisation. In addition to their own generosity and charitable nature, Claire has added to the donations by securing collaborative support from neighbours, friends, and even Saint Andrew’s School teachers. With the help of community members like Claire, we are certain that the Center will continue to have the resources it needs support those in need. To learn more about what Claire has been up to and to find out how you can support her worthy cause, please click here to view our interview with Claire and Owen in our latest episode of “Community Service Stories.”
Pedro Pounds Pavement to Protect the People: Junior Pedro Cardieri Monteiro has been spending his distance learning days in Minas Gerais, Brazil, where he has parlayed his spare time into a meaningful and important community service project. Nearly every morning, Pedro joins neighbourhood volunteers to assist in mosquito abatement, ultimately reducing incidents of Dengue Fever, a mosquito-borne disease currently compounding the Corona virus crisis in Brazil. Donning protective masks and employing other safety precautions, the volunteers scour the community for standing water and other habitats that are attractive to mosquitoes. Potential breeding conditions are located, documented, and submitted to the owners of the various properties. Pedro reminds us that while focus has clearly been on COVID-19, the country ignores the ongoing Dengue dilemma at their own peril. When not volunteering for the greater good, Pedro has been able to keep up with his studies and maintain pace with his peers as if he were still in his second home of Boca Raton. In this interview, Pedro models not only the spirit of service, but also shares his charm, intelligence, and grace with all those willing to watch.
Emma Eagerly Engages in Extraordinary Events: While it may be months, or even years, before we are able to measure the totality of the collateral damage caused by COVID-19, Junior Emma Kessler isn’t waiting for the dust to clear to address the needs of our community. As a result of government-enforced lock-downs, incidents of domestic violence have increased, a sobering reality that has invoked Emma’s true passion for assisting others. Together with her student group Students Advocates for Violence Education in Schools (S.A.V.E.), which, itself, is an offshoot of the Advocates for Domestic Abuse (AVDA) organisation, Emma has been putting her spare time to good use. During our recent period of Distance Learning, S.A.V.E has collected food, diapers, and toys for families that have been touch by domestic abuse. And with the support of AVDA, Emma and her team have been in direct communication with families through Zoom in order to bring warmth and whimsy into the lives of those who stand to benefit from their support. Emma recently shared her community service exploits with Jason Glick, Director of Student Life, in a video interview, which can be accessed directly by clicking here.
Lucas Lets Learning Live On: Lucas Harris is a veteran Scot who is known for his fierce dedication to his studies and his staunch commitment to those who are fortunate enough to name him as a friend and confidant. True to his reputation, Lucas spent the last few months of the Spring Term focused on more than simply his own academic pursuits. Along with his younger brother Ian, Lucas founded the Harris Brothers Tutoring Service, which offers free academic support to younger students in our own neighbourhood who otherwise could not afford it. Beyond helping local students to maintain pace with their studies, Lucas and his brother also provided much-needed mentorship and social interaction that had been missing in the lives of so many young children who saw their daily routines unceremoniously disrupted in the midst of the Corona Pandemic. In a recent interview with Lucas, the proud tutor indicated that he engaged in regular tutorials with his students, many of whom sought his guidance on a daily basis in order to surmount the academic challenges of each day. An example of the strength of the bonds formed between Lucas and his charges can be found in a photograph that was recently shared with him. In the image, a young girl is proudly donning a cap and gown to commemorate her Lower School graduation, an achievement which she credits Lucas with helping her to realise. And while this community service endeavour may have been born out of necessity due to mandatory quarantine, Lucas and his brother vow to continue their project into the coming school year, as they have both come to recognise the positive impact that they can (and will) continue to have on their younger peers. To watch Lucas in the latest episode of our ongoing “Community Service Stories” interview series, please click here. Well done, Lucas! Keep up the good work.
The primary challenge is simply finding the time to record each episode and then to edit the footage. We are also experimenting with a new software (Ecamm Live) that elegantly captures interview-style Zoom calls, as we are keen to make our productions look professional and slick. Other than this, it has been quite easy and relatively hassle-free.
After the second or third episode aired, we began to receive positive feedback from students and parents alike. Students began to reach out to the Round Square Representative and ask to be featured on future episodes of “Community Service Stories.” We even heard from parents who were interested in seeing their children positively featured. This has been one of the most prominent methods we have ever used to highlight student engagement in community service, and while it may still be too early to tell, we have a sense that it will inspire others to follow suit all whilst praising and lionising those who are exemplifying a spirit of service at Saint Andrew’s School.
I would wholeheartedly recommend following a similar path. The featured students enjoy taking part in the interviews, as they relish in being recognised for their work; they have intimated that they feel respected and validated through this process, and it has been nothing but positive for all those involved. It is also a great way to connect and to provide the community with yet another opportunity to see one another in a positive light under lock-down conditions. How does it shine? Brightly!
Author: Jason Glick, Director of Student Life & Experiential Education, Round Square Rep, Saint Andrew’s School