Students were able to choose one of three locations:
- BOK Ranch, a non-profit organization the provides therapeutic horseback riding for clients with special needs
- InnVision Shelter Network (San Mateo location), an organization dedicated to helping homeless families and individuals; or
- Second Harvest Food Bank (Bing Center), a food bank serving Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.
“It's a different experience from everyday in school,” said a Stanbridge senior, who went to Second Harvest. “It was very productive. We helped box up the produce.”
The students at Second Harvest boxed, weighed, put 18,000 lbs of sweet potatoes on pallets for delivery in two hours—a new record!
“The students are focused, and they work so hard,” said Susan Kufer, parent of a Stanbridge senior and community service organizer. “One of the agencies we work with regularly asked us to reduce our hours, because we were overwhelming them with too much efficiency.”
Susan first approached Stanbridge about adding a community service component to the high school curriculum in 2011.
“[Community service] is a fantastic way to do things outside yourself, and it fits into the Stanbridge modality of learning life skills,” said Susan. “We used to do it on staff development days, but it was tricky because of age cutoffs and transportation. We had to cancel a couple and always seemed to see the same 10 kids.”
Then-Head of School Marilyn Lynch granted Susan two days a year for the high school students to participate in community service activities. The program expanded to three days the following year.
“Community service provides both a local awareness and experience in the service industry,” said High School Spanish and Woodshop Teacher Aaron Carter. “It is an opportunity for students to help, learn, and excel in a real world environment; a win-win in my book.”
High school students will have two more opportunities to participate in community service activities later this year. In addition to InnVision and Second Harvest, students will have the option of serving lunch to the homeless at Glide Memorial Church or working with the Golden Gate Park Conservancy to extricate invasive species in the Presidio of San Francisco.