“We want to reach out to help our neighbors—and, as we do, discover our capacity to do good. Having this kind of real-world interaction is crucial to becoming citizens of the world in the broadest sense.” Aaron Zweig, Community Service Program Co-Director
Community Service At Marvelwood, community service is a central component of the weekly academic routine. Every Wednesday, students and faculty work together on projects—to put the school’s core values of “honesty, respect, responsibility, and service to others” into action. The School’s devotion to service dates to its earliest years, when Marvelwood’s founders recognized the importance of lending a hand to the school’s neighbors. Over the years, this commitment has grown to involvement in a network of more than 20 service organizations on and off campus. Students choose from a variety of projects with a blend of hands-on labor and professional pursuits. Past activities have included clearing trails and building bridges at nature preserves, mentoring young children at pre-school programs, tending to animals at shelters, cultivating plants at orchards and greenhouses, engaging with seniors at nursing homes, organizing inventory and book sales at the town library, and maintaining equipment at the local fire department.
Depth Devoting consistent time and effort toward one project enables students to develop a thorough understanding of the way an organization works, while deepening their commitment to a cause. In many cases, students work for the same organization for all four years at Marvelwood. Students forge meaningful relationships with staff members and the people they serve, while honing workplace skills and gaining real-world experience that can be applied to future careers. In turn, organizations benefit from the students’ consistent presence. One supervisor had this to say about a student who worked with children at a pre-school program: “He has had such an impact on the children here. He is protective of the kids, helpful to the teachers, and really takes the initiative. Some members of the class are younger siblings of alumni who were here with him as well; they remember him from when they were younger. I have seen such a change in the four years he has been helping us out— I am very proud of the man he is becoming.”
On the Road Marvelwood’s service extends to locations far beyond the local community. Students have the option to participate in a biannual service trip to Panama, which combines a field science project studying the diversity of bird and insect life on the Cocobolo Nature Preserve with outreach to the nearby La Zahina School. Marvelwood students interact with the schoolchildren, deliver school supplies, organize softball games, create videos, and swim in the Mamoni River with the village children. All seniors participate in a service trip immediately before graduation as a prerequisite to their diplomas. Working for civic organizations around the country, seniors see firsthand the extent of need in rural and urban communities. Past trips have included building projects with Habitat for Humanity, school-beautification efforts, and community outreach in Vermont, Maine, and Washington, D.C.
“Students are working to help people they don’t know, and in the process, they’re discovering strengths and talents they didn’t know they had.” Wendi Love, Kent Senior Center Lunch Coordinator
The Marvelwood School 476 Skiff Mountain Road | PO Box 3001 | Kent, CT 06757-3001 860-927-0047 or toll free 800-440-9107 | marvelwood.org
Published on Aug 31, 2015
Published on Aug 31, 2015
At Marvelwood, Community Service is a central component of the weekly academic routine. Every Wednesday, students and faculty work together...