As students who strive to balance academia, sports, and a social life, we often become absorbed in the relatively small world of Kirby, disconnected from the world. Kirby’s Community Service Learning Program envisions involving our whole community—students, teachers, and parents. Its design is formed from three tenets: service should be based both at school and home; a program should instill the joy of participation in community life; and that genuine learning is essential.
Kirby’s Community Service Learning Program is divided into two parts: ongoing school wide events, and a dozen or so student led groups that develop in-service on a long term scale. Mima Lecocq, the faculty adviser, will organize events covering a spectrum of interests aimed at students and their families, with the goal of finding at least one engaging event each year. The long-term service groups will draw from the passion of their student leaders with the support of faculty and student government. Student leaders will meet with their groups and each other throughout the year to plan and discuss solutions.
While time devoted to each service project will be determined by the nature of the project, we think a modest commitment is best, at least during the first few years: perhaps, three or four days or evenings annually.
At Kirby learning through service is as important as the service itself. For example, a group that adopts a creek would learn how to monitor for pollutants; a group that works with the Museum of Art and History to maintain the Evergreen Cemetery would learn about the people interred there and how best to preserve/clean gravestones; or a group that helps the Homeless Services Center would learn more about homelessness in America and our community.
While parent participation is not required, we hope that parents will support groups and events, even if they cannot make the organizational meetings. That participation is a great way to model the ideal of lifelong learning and community service.