GA has developed several partnerships to show students the power of volunteering for organizations such as local shelters and at Face to Face Germantown, which is a multi-service organization that offers dining, health and hygiene, and other services. Middle School instituted a Service Day in September where groups of 7th and 8th Grade students provided companionship and assistance at places like Mercy Hospice and Whosoever Gospel Mission. Buddy Day, a partnership with Silver Springs Martin Luther School, which serves students experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges, brings students together on GA's campus.
Rock added, "Last year we expanded the Buddy Day program to include visits around art, science, and other sports, which we will continue this year. The goal is to eventually have one per month."
GA's unique New Community Project, which is in its fourth year in the Upper School, was recently introduced as a club in the Middle School and is quickly gaining steam. New Community Project students select a new non-profit organization each year and they conduct a comprehensive, professional assessment. This includes self-reflection, mindful listening and sharing, literary analysis, community education and engagement, product generation, and product fulfillment in order to provide solutions to the organization's issues. This year the group is pleased to work with the Community Partnership School.
As GA continues to prioritize service to the community, we also emphasize taking care of our environment.
GA's Nature Program, coordinated by Upper School Science teacher Sarah Kesten, stresses respect and care for the natural and man-made green spaces on campus, such as the Wissahickon Creek, The Preserve, and the Green Roof and Apiary. GA even has several vegetable gardens on campus that produce food used in the Dining Hall.
Each division has a Green Ambassadors group, where students and faculty maintain the grounds with weeding, planting, and cleanup, and act as tour guides on the public Preserve Day in the fall. The GA Environmental Awareness group (GAEA) in the Upper School, focuses on earth-conscious initiatives like, reusable water bottles, and composting.
It's no surprise that GA students have such a penchant for offering their time. GA parents and alumni have served as excellent role models when it comes to service. The Parents' Committee has run the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service for more than a decade, and Alumni CSO events like helping at a Habitat House in Philadelphia or assisting at food banks in Washington, DC, Seattle and Chicago continue to draw graduates together for a good cause.
From the youngest student to alumni and everyone in between, taking care of the people and world around us is one of the most important lessons learned.