What is the environmental impact of food transportation? What does it mean to eat or cook locally? Does everyone have enough food and access to healthy food? How can we help others who may not have enough food?
The Mackintosh Academy-Boulder 4th and 5th grade students have been exploring those and other questions as part of their food chemistry unit. It seemed appropriate, then, to coordinate their unit with Mack-Boulder’s first school-wide Service Learning Day of the year on Friday, November 11th.
Students, faculty, and parents kicked off the day with a fundraising Pancake Breakfast—all donations going towards Heifer International. The 4th and 5th grade, as a part of their unit, have been spearheading the school-wide push for support for the organization. Between the Halloween change-collecting and the Pancake Breakfast, the students raised over $1,800 for Heifer. (The 4th and 5th graders will decide this week which animals to purchase for various international communities in need.)
Later in the day, students gathered in the Great Hall to hear guest speakers from Attention Homes and Bridge House, two Boulder-based not-for-profit organizations. The speakers provided important context around the issues of poverty, hunger, and homelessness, and answered questions from the students.
After spending time with the speakers, the grades dispersed to help others in various ways: kindergarten and first graders made bookmarks and sorted the books (donated throughout the week by Mack families) for the Emergency Family Assistance Association; second and third graders sorted toiletry donations for Bridge House and decorated holiday bags for Meals on Wheels; fourth and fifth graders assembled survival kits for Attention Homes and performed school service activities, as well. The middle school students broke into their House groups and fanned out across Boulder to assist agencies such as Harvest of Hope, Sister Carmen, and the Boulder Shelter by sorting donated food, stocking shelves, and packing lunches for people who are homeless, among other tasks.
Service Learning Day by the numbers:
- Over 400 service hours by students
- 243 survival kits for Attention Homes (socks, hand-warmers and a snack)
- 140 pounds of toiletries for Bridge House
- 45 pounds of coins for Heifer International
- 150 books with bookmarks for EFFA
- 100 books to Sister Carmen
- 250 bags for Meals on Wheels
- 9 local nonprofits supported
- 7 companies donated items to support the efforts
The day was coordinated by Mack Parent Council Chair of Service, Mara Rose, and Mack Outreach Coordinator, Catherine Barnes. Science teacher and school psychologist Kristi Pikiewicz, with her team of volunteers, organized the Pancake Breakfast. The students, during the debrief at the end of the day, expressed that they felt working to help others in need was worthwhile, rewarding, and made them think about how they can make even more of a difference moving forward; the faculty felt the same. “I left for the weekend with a full heart and renewed sense of hope knowing we are nurturing the next generation of innovators, creators, problem-solvers, and empathetic leaders,” said Head of School JJ Morrow.
We owe our gratitude to the following companies for supporting our day of service: