You can do service anywhere.
That truth was the basis for Santa Catalina School's 5 Weeks of Service Challenge, which kicked off October 12. Focusing on a different theme each week, Dean of Students Katherine Busch and several students shared a daily list of ideas for doing community service "no matter where you are or who you are with."
Week 1 — Our environment
Students learned about ways to be conscious consumers and were encouraged to try composing; clean up a beach, park, or neighborhood; and go a day without meat (vegetarian recipes included!).
Week 2 — Food security
Students were taught to reduce food waste through meal planning and freezing and learned what expiration dates really mean. They were also invited to volunteer with or donate to a local food bank or soup kitchen.
Week 3 — Comforting others
Ideas this week focused mainly on small acts of kindness: doing extra chores around the house, donating clothes, bringing flowers to senior living facilities, and creating craft kits for kids. Mrs. Busch later led a Zoom demonstration on how to make pocket-sized prayer shawls (top photo).
Week 4 — Animal welfare
Students learned about organizations such as Defenders of Wildlife, Oceana, and the Animal Welfare Institute, and were encouraged to help out a local animal shelter. Physics teacher Paulette Struckman led students in a citizen science project to help giraffes in Kenya and talked about her volunteer work with Wildlife ACT, a conservation organization that assists with endangered species monitoring in South Africa.
Week 5 — Reaching out to the isolated
Isolation is a common feeling for many of us these days, affecting certain populations, such as the elderly, more than most. Students were encouraged to write cards to residents of retirement homes just to let them know someone is thinking of them. But this week also asked students to consider other forms of isolation. They learned of ways to help organizations that support literacy, immigrants, and inmates in solitary confinement.
Hopefully this challenge inspires you to find service opportunities in your area. One place to get started is VolunteerMatch.