Service learning has become an increasingly important aspect of the Greenwood curriculum and culture. To graduate from High School at Greenwood each student must give a minimum of 40 hours of community service, although many of our young men far exceed this expectation.
Voluntary service disconnected from reflection and learning is valuable, but when service and learning are strategically combined and utilized as tools for self-growth, the results can profoundly shift how people — especially young people — see themselves in the world. Service helps our students engage with the world and encourages personal, social and academic growth. From harvesting and serving food in the local community to helping in New Orleans after Katrina, students learn to see themselves as positive agents of change.
Service in the Local Community
Whether a student commits to the afternoon Community Service elective (2 days per week) or participates in less formal afternoon and weekend projects, there are many opportunities to serve in the local community. Projects have included gleaning for the Vermont Foodbank, warehouse work at the Brattleboro Drop-In Center, river clean-up with the Nature Conservancy, trail maintenance, and harvesting at the Youth Agriculture Project (UVM). We also assist elderly neighbors with yard work and shoveling snow — usually with some hot chocolate or ice cream for a reward!
Greenwood is also a member of Putney Student Corps, a collaborative community service organization made up of students, faculty and staff from The Grammar School, The Greenwood School, Landmark College, Putney Central School, and The Putney School.
Greenwood’s CONNECT Program provides year-round opportunities for community service learning. Spring and summer vacation trips combine travel, adventure and service. Trips have included the American Southwest, the Florida Everglades, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Maine and Alaska. A new trip to Costa Rica is in the works for this year!
Small group travel with our trained teachers, including pre- and post-trip workshops, enables students to strengthen social communication and organizational skills. A Junior Trip Leader is chosen for each group, which provides a wonderful leadership opportunity to our students.
In addition to providing the opportunity to help others, CONNECT trips teach students about travel and about working collaboratively for a greater cause while at the same time introducing students to different cultures and helping them to develop a broader world view.
Check out the blog from our Spring 2014 CONNECT trip to the Southwest!!!