Community service for high school students: putting values into action
By Kevin Yaley, Head of Francis Parker School
Lending a helping hand to those in need is a core value of American society. In today’s world, volunteering is one of the purest and most effective ways in which individuals can experience the power of giving. By integrating community service for high school students into a college preparatory curriculum, educators can make this experience an integral part of the learning process – and subsequently, help to foster caring, thoughtful and empowered attitudes in tomorrow’s leaders. In the coming weeks, we at Francis Parker School look forward to celebrating these values with a Community Service Day. By highlighting the importance of giving back, we can all work together to move forward.
Building community awareness
Here in San Diego, we are lucky to support a host of diverse and thriving communities. Each and every one of us identifies with a favorite neighborhood, be it the area we grew up in or the one we eventually came to call home. But in order to truly connect with these communities – as well as the county at large – one of the best things we can do is go outside our comfort zone and experience community life with the perspective of a volunteer. Whether it involves lending a hand to help beautify a run-down recreation center, assist a neighbor in planting a garden, volunteering at a local food bank or working to preserve the natural environment, community service connects us to our city and to one another.
The same thing goes for our children, many of whom use community facilities like parks, trails and museums on a regular basis. By including community service in our children’s education, we teach them not only to give of themselves, but also to have a profound respect for the world around them – and to be stewards of the community from a young age.
Celebrating service at Francis Parker School
At Francis Parker School, we hold true to our founder’s belief that students should learn by doing, and be encouraged to understand and fulfill their responsibilities as citizens, both of the local community at large. To this end, we provide all students with the opportunity to participate in service clubs and, in the case of our Upper School students, we require community service hours prior to graduation. As we celebrate our centennial year, we look forward to sharing our passion for community service through one of our upcoming Centennial Celebration events. On February 2nd, we will be hosting a Community Service Day in which all Parker students and their families will take part in one of four community service projects. From landscaping, painting and restoration projects at the Junipero Serra Museum and the Boys & Girls Club of Linda Vista to volunteer work at the San Diego Food Bank and clean-up at the San Diego River, this event will feature meaningful work for all participants. To learn more about Community Service Day, Parker’s Centennial Celebration or community service at Francis Parker School, visit us online today at www.francisparker.org.
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