Community Involvement through Service
Making positive social change in stewardship of local & global communities
Connecting the real world with what our students are learning at school is at the core of our service program. At Woodlawn our students, in all grade levels, advocate for a specific local or global cause that is interwoven throughout their year-long course of study. Rather than fulfilling a required number of hours, our students spend the year understanding and gaining perspective of their service partner. Our program is enriched through a guided and intentional curriculum that also incorporates many on-site experiences for the students. As we persistently push our students out of their comfort zones, we see them working side by side, confronting their own fears or prejudices, and developing a greater sense of appreciation for all they have.
We build bridges of insight through empathy, the effort to see the world through the eyes of others, understand the world through their experiences, and feel the world through their emotions.
Tim Brown, Change By Design
Shannon Hockswender,Service Learning Teacher Kindergarten
The kindergarten year is the foundational year for our service learning curriculum. Students focus on service at home, service at school and service in the community. Our community service partnership is with the Ronald McDonald House in Charlotte. The house looks and acts as a real home to families in need of a place to stay while their child receives treatment at the local children's hospital. The Ronald McDonald House supports families by providing everything that you would typically find at home: a laundry room, a beautiful kitchen, a pantry to store personal food items, a play room, a homework area, and private sleeping areas. Our kindergarten students collect household items to donate throughout the year. They also they go to Build-A-Bear Workshop to create a special bear to donate to the children of the house. Kindergarten supports a school-wide pop tab collection which also creates income for the RMH to use. The goal is to collect one million pop tabs in order to financially support 40 families during their stay.
Tracy Hoskins, Service Learning Teacher 1st GradeFirst grade service learning focuses on pet care and service animals. Students help the Cornelius Animal Shelter by collecting supplies through their “Have-a-Heart” donation drive and bake sale each February. They also partner with 6th grade to provide donations to other area animal rescues in need. The goal of the service learning curriculum in first grade is to make students aware of how important people and animals are for our community.
Dawn Modrak, Service Learning Teacher 2nd GradeTo honor those in our community who have served our country, the second graders partner with the Mooresville Library and Richard’s Cafe in Downtown Mooresville in November. The students create handmade Veterans Day cards and personally deliver them to the veterans at Richard’s Cafe. They eat brunch, share their cards, and walk through the museum with the veterans while asking lots of questions about the memorabilia and pictures on the walls. It is a very unique bond that children create with these special members of our community.
Hampton Hager, Service Learning Teacher 3rd GradeThe 3rd grade class goes to 5th Street Ministries, a homeless shelter located in Statesville, NC. 5th Street Ministries provides clothing, food, and access to healthcare and is a safe sanctuary for men, women, and children. The 3rd grade students help in the kitchen when they visit the shelter each month. Students serve food and dessert, hand out water, and greet the people that visit the shelter. Each year students hold a bake sale at Woodlawn and all the money is donated to 5th Street Ministries to help those in need.
Debbie Lolla, Service Learning Teacher 4th GradeOur fourth graders learn early on in the school year that being a role model is a core value for their class. As they serve as mentors to young children at La Escuelita in Davidson, they begin to define themselves as role models. Whether they serve as a one-on-one reading buddy, assist with literacy and math activities for small groups, or encourage language development in free-play centers, our fourth graders realize the rewarding experience of being a mentor. This partnership provides an opportunity for our fourth graders to apply important life skills such as good listening and communication skills, patience, empathy, reflection, and respect.
Trey Fouche, Service Learning Teacher 5th gradeA core value for our fifth graders is leadership. Each week they are tasked with recycling paper and plastic products in each building on our campus. Fifth graders also educate lower school students on what can be recycled and what is trash. Other on-campus service opportunities arise throughout the year like hosting the annual Lower School Core Values Presentation and the K-12 Veteran’s Day assembly. Fifth graders visit off-campus organizations that serve different groups of people in the community.
Catherine Packard, 6th Grade Service Learning TeacherThe sixth grade service learning program focuses on animal advocacy. Students participate in a variety of activities that allow them to learn about domesticated and wild animals and how to advocate for animal protection and proper animal care. Students work throughout the year to understand the importance of responsible animal ownership, working to educate their community about various topics related to ethical animal treatment. They also advocate for wild animals through an integrated presentation about the wonders and benefits of insects and a performance piece about migratory birds. They partner with Piedmont Animal Rescue to learn common reasons for animal surrender and develop materials for potential pet owners that address these concerns. Students also work to support this organization by raising money selling homemade dog biscuits at Christmas in Davidson, holding donation drives, making beds and toys for animals, and creating animal care packets for current and future pet owners. At the end of the year, students choose one habit they will commit to practicing, or an organization they will commit to supporting as an advocate for animals.
Katie Verlin, 7th Grade Service Learning TeacherThe aim of seventh grade service is to introduce students to sustainability as a way to become positive contributors to our society. Through class discussions, readings, and field experiences, students explore a variety of environmental issues facing our local, regional, and global community. Using what they learn from these experiences, they develop educational opportunities for others so they can incorporate sustainable practices into their own lifestyles. Integrating service learning with science, language arts, and visual arts, they design and create messages about creative reuse, and develop action plans to enact on our campus, and in our local community to help develop a sustainable society. Through this process, students come to recognize the positive impact they can have on our community and our environment.
Meredith Swanson & Kim Lysne, 8th Grade Service Learning Teachers
The eighth grade service learning program, Bridging Generations, is designed to develop an appreciation and respect for the older adults in our society. Students gain an understanding of the challenges older adults face by learning about the aging process, examining the complex world in which aging adults must learn to live, and evaluating the misconceptions and labels that are sometimes given to older adults. The students apply what they learn by designing and adapting entertaining, engaging, and educational activities for older adults. The students share these activities with their older adult friends at Accordius Health, a long term care and rehabilitation center in Mooresville, each month. The service learning activities are student driven, providing an opportunity for the development and practice of planning, organization, collaboration and presentation skills. Through thoughtful reflections, class discussions, and visits with the residents, students develop a greater sense of empathy and concern for older adults.
In the Upper School, students in grades 9 - 11 participate in the Service in Action elective at least one term per year. Each week we spend two hours working with one of our community partners and one day on campus working to support the Woodlawn community. Our program is intended to nurture a sense of community responsibility through community involvement. Putting our hand and energy to work in an effort to better or immediate community helps us better see what is needed and what we can do to change it.
Our Service Partners
- The Ada Jenkins Center exists to help people in our community create lasting solutions for health, education, and economic stability. Woodlawn students lend a helping hand at Ada Jenkins to set up for fundraising events, sort and organize food for the food pantry, maintain the premises, or create games and lessons for the after-school program.
- Mooresville Soup Kitchen: From culinary job training to meals and markets, the Mooresville Soup Kitchen (MSK) provides a number of opportunities to support the Mooresville community. MSK receives almost a million pounds of donated food each year from local retailers, so there is plenty of work to be done sorting and organizing food along with the associated cleaning, preparing, and cooking.
- La Escuelita: La Escuelita, or “little school”, is a bilingual, science-based preschool sponsored by St. Alban’s Episcopal Church of Davidson. Woodlawn students love the opportunity to work with the children in the classroom and especially on the playground. During the year, they also have the opportunity to create projects and manipulatives to help the teachers at La Escuelita build the curricular activities for the students.
- Refugee Support Services: The mission of Refugee Support Services of the Carolinas is to facilitate the programs and intercultural relationships that promote refugee self-sufficiency and enrich our community. They work to connect refugees to the greater Charlotte area, teach self-sufficiency skills, and empower new immigrants to connect to their new homes. Woodlawn students travel to RSS several times a year to help distribute food, organize events, practice English with new arrivals, and sort donations. Throughout the year, students also contribute to other fundraising efforts and projects by knitting scarves and hats, contributing goods and paintings to house warming bundles, and collecting goods for the education program.
- American Red Cross: Beginning in the fall of 2018, Service in Action began an annual blood drive in December to support the efforts of the American Red Cross. The hope is to continue and grow our contribution each year. The students lead the sign-up effort, organize the publicity, and run the event. It is a rare opportunity to have an entirely student run event and opportunity to tie it into such a valuable social contribution.
Take a peek inside the classroom...
Everything has a story
Developing a heart for service through empathy
Filling the "museum"We are all connected by the mere fact that we have clothes, shoes, toys, and even household items. Each of those items is personal to us and “has a story to tell”. By donating items to this school wide service event, our students are ensuring that the “story” continues for so many others in need. All of the donations to our various service partners and other community organizations in need.
A real-world experience
The core of Woodlawn’s service program is our commitment to building ongoing partnerships between school and community. Through service, our students gain an understanding of the importance of helping others and in turn, develop empathy.
Going through this amazing museum reminded me of how caring and giving our community is. It brought tears to my eyes to think that others in need will receive these special "gifts"!Mrs. Modrak, 2nd Grade Teacher
This public art display was inspired by the third grade partnership with Fifth Street Ministry and the work of artist, Kaarina Kaikkonen.
Kaarina Kaikkonen is an internationally renowned installation artist who works with masses of clothing to alter our perception of shared spaces and shared lives. Her projects are often cooperative in nature, seeking donated clothes from public sources. The way Kaikkonen ties forms together suggests how we are all connected. Kaikkonen sees her work as communal in spirit yet speaking to individual experience. The complexities of the personal histories and emotions embedded in each piece of clothing are amplified by the collective nature of this installation.~Referenced from her public art installation entitled: “We Share a Dream” located in the Buffalo International Airport