Thursday, April 21, saw students and teachers from the Middle School fanning out across campus and into the community to engage in service, one more opportunity to put into practice the citizen leader model of Lead From Here.
Students and teachers had the opportunity to choose whether to go off campus to serve with one of our partner organizations — Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Note in the Pocket, Falls Lake, Walnut Creek Wetland Park and Refugee Hope Partners — or to engage in service on campus.
“At Ravenscroft, we believe deeply in the power of experiential education. We recognize the impact that our service can make within our communities yet also recognize that we ourselves can be changed through caring and connection,” Associate Head of Middle School Nicole Brown said. “All groups learned about the mission of the organization they were serving and then engaged in exercising many of our Lead From Here competencies through this work. We also wanted to have fun!”
Middle School faculty and staff shared details and reflections about their experiences.
Lindsay Nelson wrote, “Five faculty members took 39 of our students to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Farmers had donated a large number of sweet potatoes that were not able to be sold (due to size or looks). We sorted the sweet potatoes into bags of about five pounds each. What was really neat was seeing some of our students choose to sort and package with other adult volunteers who were not from Ravenscroft.”
Kristen James wrote, “Ravenscroft Middle School had 15 students and two faculty members provide volunteer services at Note in the Pocket, a nonprofit organization that helps to provide clothing to homeless and impoverished children and families with dignity and love — and thus empowering children to succeed in the academic environment. Our students spent time sorting through clothing in order to determine what items would be appropriate and make students like themselves feel good and confident. Students also had the opportunity to tour this facility and learn about the ins and outs of how Note in the Pocket achieves its mission and serves our community.”
James also shared these quotes from some of the students she worked with at Note in the Pocket:
“I learned about some of the financial aspects of running a charity like this, including how they reuse or recycle everything donated and how they partner with other organizations.”
“It was interesting to see all of the rooms and the process that the clothes had to go through before they were given to people. I was also impressed at the number of clothes that had been donated and how well-organized everything was.”
“I really enjoyed volunteering at NIP today, and it was so fun to check the clothes and determine what people would be proud to wear.”
“My experience was lovely! It was so much fun sorting clothes, and it made me feel good helping people.”
“The volunteers there really care about their job and make a difference in people’s lives. I’m glad I got to be part of it.”
Middle School counselor Merritt Cole stayed on campus with a group of students who did an Earth Day project with students in the Lower School. She said, “The service day was a huge success! It was incredible to see how excited eighth-graders were to spend some time with Lower School students with their Earth Day projects — and even more special to see how kind, friendly and welcoming they were to the students they were paired with. They asked them thoughtful questions, helped when needed, encouraged them when appropriate and were all-around wonderful buddies. Our eighth-graders chattered all the way back to the Middle School about their Lower School buddies’ personalities and how they hoped to spend more time with them in the future.”
For Lower School teachers and students, the experience was every bit as special.
“The biggest takeaways today were the connections that were formed. The eighth-graders felt a little bit nervous, giddy and excited, and the feeling was mutual with our first graders,” Avera Acai wrote in an email sharing the day’s experiences with her students’ parents. “Choosing Ravenscroft means choosing to collaborate with one another and providing the opportunities to do so. The past two years have been tremendously challenging on all of us, and today was one of the best days I have seen and experienced in two years. As Ravens across divisions, we were able to connect with one another and we were able to get the assignment done within an hour’s time.”
“My students enjoyed it and thought it was the BEST THING EVER!!” Laura Crudup added in a note of thanks to Brown and the Middle School leadership team.
“Service Days are magic. You see students become teachers to younger children, new friendships blossom, and deep connections are forged,” Brown concluded. “Middle Schoolers often enter into this work focused on the ways in which they are giving time and energy to others, yet they discover what they get in return can be even more impactful than what they give. These days are full and sometimes exhausting, but they are also so invigorating!”
At top and below: eighth-grade students volunteer in Avera Acai’s and Laura Crudup’s Lower School classrooms.