As students, faculty and staff prepared to head into the Holiday Break with a half-day of school on Dec. 21 — capped by a campus-wide assembly and fun divisional sing-a-long — Upper School students spent some of their morning helping to spread cheer to others.
Through service projects facilitated by the Upper School’s Community Service Board in conjunction with the Student Government Association, which was responsible for planning the morning’s activities, Ravens wrote letters and cards to seniors living in nursing homes and to service members deployed across the globe.
“We chose to write letters because it was an engaging and accessible way for students to deliver the true meaning of the holiday season: giving,” SGA president Delaney Washington ’22 explained. “We often get caught up in the presents we receive and delicious treats we eat during the holidays, but as SGA reps, we thought it was imperative to spread the holiday cheer with others.”
Letters for Rose, a student-led volunteer organization, aims to reduce loneliness among the elderly by creating and distributing personalized letters, art and donations for local nursing homes. Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many residential care centers for adults were forced to close to visitors, Letters for Rose now has over 400 chapters across the world.
Sara Baende ’23 started the local chapter with some friends after learning about the organization online.
“I know that during the pandemic, I felt so lonely and isolated, so I can’t imagine how the people living in retirement homes must have felt. They couldn’t even see their families because of the fear of spreading anything,” she explained. “Sending letters out to them would help them feel less lonely in the pandemic.”
Similarly, Letters to Soldiers supports deployed service members through letters and cards sharing messages of gratitude and well-wishes. Nick DeGiacinto ’25 said he was involved in this program at his old school, and he was excited at the opportunity to get Ravenscroft students on board as well.
“A lot of my family members have served in the military. I am very involved in this community through Team Rubicon and writing letters to service members,” he said. “I feel it is important to show our thankfulness to our deployed service members.”
The Upper School’s letter-writing projects, which had kicked off earlier in the semester, gave students from all four classes the opportunity to lift up others. According to Lindsey Barrett ’22, who serves as head of the CSB, many Upper School Ravens have made community service a priority this year.
“The Community Service Board has been very impressed with students’ level of engagement with these kinds of opportunities,” she said. “Especially since our return to in-person learning, we’ve seen a lot of interest and willingness to participate in service activities that help out others in our community — maybe in response to seeing how COVID has affected the world.”
The two service projects have generated dozens of letters, cards and drawings so far. For student leaders, making that kind of impact is what service learning is all about. As Delaney concluded, “We were so glad to be a part of Letters for Rose and Letters to Soldiers for the day and hope everyone that received a letter felt our love from afar!”