Community Service at the High School
Community service has been an essential component of the High School experience since its inception. We devote six half-days per year to sending students out to various non-profit sites (most of them in or near our downtown Louisville neighborhood) to perform service.
Service sites run the gamut of missions, falling into the categories of environmental stewardship, human services, and civic literacy.
We organize partnerships yearly with approximately fifteen sites. The services our students provide range from trail-clearing at environmental sites to weatherproofing in private homes; from food preparation at local homeless shelters to one-on-one interaction with agency clients, from children to the elderly. Our student volunteers may be called on to assist with office and administrative tasks, painting, organizing, and event preparation (fundraising, clothing and food drives, etc.). One service group falls under the auspices of the Free the Children/Me to We program, developing its own focus and projects. All groups strive to include an educational component that will accent their students’ service work.
The service sites at which St. Francis students are volunteering in 2013-14 include Louisville Nature Center, Gilda’s Club, Center for Women and Families, Project Warm, Christian Care Communities, Chestnut Street YMCA, Kentucky Science Center, Falls of the Ohio, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Planned Parenthood, Dreams With Wings, Family and Children’s Place, Olmsted Parks Conservancy, Americana Community Center, Free the Children/Me to We, and our Goshen/Harrods Creek campuses.
Community Service at the Goshen Campus
On the Goshen Campus, there has always been a strong emphasis on nurturing well-rounded children in every way. Of course, academics are at the forefront, but we also strive to celebrate individuality and help to bring out what is truly special in each student. Ethical development and emotional intelligence are key, and one way we work to foster these is Service Learning.
The concept of service learning was introduced on the Goshen Campus a few years ago. The difference between a day of service and a service learning project is that the former accomplishes a set task, while the latter engages students in choosing an organization to help, based on their interests. Teachers guide students through a weeks- or months-long process, during which students learn about their chosen organization, do research on why and who they helped, and craft a plan to aid their particular group.
On the Goshen Campus, every grade level completes a Service Learning project during the course of the school year. 6th grade language arts teacher Shelly Jones serves as Service Learning Coordinator, heading up our efforts. She just organized our second annual Philanthropy Fair, at which various community non-profit groups and agencies visit the school to present their causes to students. Each grade then decides which group to help and brainstorms a plan with lead teachers.
As we begin the 2013-14 school year, we only hope to do more and continue to inspire our kids to be a caring part of their community. To that end, we (along with the Downtown Campus) have joined with over 20 schools in our region to form a partnership with “We Act/Free the Children,” the largest international service learning organization in the world. Stay tuned for more news and heartwarming stories about St. Francis Service Learning!
Community Service at the Preschool
Since its inception, the Preschool has collected and distributed essential items for area families. Our focus is on fulfilling the needs of families with small children in the community. St. Francis Preschool families donate items to match the wish lists provided by area social-service agencies. Once these are gathered together, parent volunteers transport the contributions to the agencies. Our annual contributions to the community include the coat drive for Wayside Christian Mission, the Holiday Helping Hands program, and providing filled plastic eggs for spring hunts to the California Area Child Development Center. As animals are a common interest of our Preschoolers, we also collect food and supplies for area animal rescues.