Service to the community has long been an essential component of the Heathwood Hall experience at all age levels. As an Episcopal school, we are charged both with contributing to the greater good of our community and with developing students not just as learners but as active, engaged citizens who have empathy, compassion, and understanding for all of God’s people.
Service learning at Heathwood marries the impact students can have on the community with the community’s impact on the students. Through their work on service projects, students learn about problems and needs in the community such as hunger, poverty, differently abled individuals, and the struggles of veterans. In addition to their service work, students research the history of the issue and how it affects the communities in which they live. Then they learn about the organizations that seek to address those issues in local communities. Through this work, they develop their capacity to serve as God’s hands in the world, strengthening and lifting up those around them.
Service Learning Program goals include:
- Broadening students' perspectives and helping them to see themselves as a responsible part of the local, national, and global community;
- Enhancing students' awareness of their capacity to help others who are in need by training them in leadership and organizational skills;
- Increasing students' exposure to a diversity of situations, ideas, and people;
- Extending Heathwood Hall’s resources toward the betterment of the larger community;
Heathwood Hall students have opportunities at every grade level to use their talents, interests, and abilities to serve others. Each year students are engaged in service efforts designed to strengthen the greater community.
In Early Childhood and Lower School, service learning is connected to our students’ social, emotional, and spiritual learning. As students explore concepts of helping, caring, and sharing through their work with our Chaplains and guidance Counselor, they participate in service projects that put those concepts into practice, such as collecting food for Harvest Hope Food Bank, candy for members of the military serving overseas, and supplies for needy children in the Midlands.
Middle School students are learning about all aspects of hunger through their work with Harvest Hope Food Bank and the Souper Bowl of Caring. In addition to reflecting on what it might be like to experience hunger, they pair their service with exploration of food deserts and local and national hunger statistics.
In the Upper School, students are exploring human services and learning more about the individuals whose needs they are meeting through their service work. As they collect donations for the VA, they study veterans’ affairs. As they prepare gifts for Families Helping Families, they learn about poverty in Columbia and nationally. As they serve Camp Cole, they learn about children with illness and disabilities. And as they serve Sistercare, they learn about women’s history and female poverty.
“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.