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The Lower School Builds Community

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The Lower School Builds Community
By The Lower School Community Service Committee - Kendall Strickler, Rachel Ruina, and Irene Murshed
Lower School students making snack bags

“C’mon, everyone! Let’s keep making sandwiches!” one student exclaimed. Her worn-out classmates had just about reached their physical and mental capacity, and they needed encouragement to meet their goal: to make one hundred sandwiches to be distributed to people with food insecurity in Washington, D.C. These earnest and heartfelt words came from a student who will graduate with her fellow sandwich-making classmates in 2035—a Kindergartener!

In the Lower School, we take seriously our mission of developing students who are capable and confident in accepting challenges, see themselves as responsible members of the community, and are caring people. As an indication of our commitment to service, Head of Lower School Genta Branstetter created a Lower School Community Service Committee.

Rather than working as individuals to collect money or goods from their families, the Lower School has carved out a space for service work as a way of creating community during the school day. We want the children to engage with this work in the most meaningful way possible, by participating in hands-on and in-person experiences. Giving children opportunities to be of service allows them to better understand the impact of their actions and helps them see themselves as people who are able to help others. We hope our students internalize the idea that, rather than providing an act of charity, they are fulfilling a mutual societal obligation. The individuals they are helping are not “other people” but are their neighbors, community members, and, sometimes, fellow students.

We look forward to carrying the lessons we have learned from this year into the next one!

Bullis and Diener School

5th Grade

Community Organization: Diener School — serves students in grades K - 8 with academic and social learning differences.

What we did: At our visits, we engaged in a variety of activities, projects, and free play.

The objective: To reach out and offer friendship and companionship.

students helping make lunches for Martha's Table

Kindergarten

Community Organization: Martha’s Table

What we did: We made sandwiches for McKenna’s Wagon, a program associated with Martha’s Table that helps to feed families in need in Washington, D.C.

The objective: To learn the importance of helping people in our community with a focus on getting food to people who need it.

students making a blanket for Comfort Cases

3rd Grade

Community Organization: Comfort Cases — provides backpacks filled with comfort and personal care items for youth entering the foster care system.

What we did: Kids learned about children in foster care and the nonprofit Comfort Cases. Students collaboratively made blankets, one of the items inside the "Comfort Case" backpack.

The objective: To learn about kindness and giving to those in need.

students volunteering folding clothese

1st Grade

Community Organization: A Wider Circle — collects household items and distributes them to families in need.

What we did: First graders helped to sort and fold clothing.

The objective: Learn the importance of supporting those with different needs in our community.

students making snack packs for Nourish Now

2nd Grade

Community Organization: Nourish Now — a food bank in Rockville that specializes in food recovery. Children, families, and seniors benefit from donations from our food donors.

What we did: Each 2nd grader helped to put together snack bags for children who are in need.

The objective: Help others strengthen the community and bring awareness of needs in the community.

students making postcards to welcome refugees

4th Grade

Community Organization: Students Rebuild Welcoming Refugees Project

What we did: Students will create postcards to send to young refugees. The Bezos Family Foundation will donate $5 to refugee-aid organizations for every postcard created.

The objective: Collectively taking action to support those in need around the world.