Creating new ways to serve

by Jenna Pel, Middle School Teacher
cards created by middle school students

Service learning is an integral part of the student experience at the Middle School. These challenging times have emphasized the importance of serving our community. Students have felt inspired to help ease the burden so many Houstonians suddenly face due to the ongoing public health and economic crisis.

“I have an idea for service learning!” was a commonly heard statement as we transitioned to remote learning in mid-March.

Each semester, Middle School students choose a service project based on their interests and passions. Many of our service learning partners have been directly impacted by COVID-19 and reached out with their most pressing needs and opportunities to help. Though students’ year-long service projects may now look a little different, the need is as urgent as ever. Students have been eager to answer the call with purpose, enthusiasm, and creativity (all while observing physical distancing recommendations).

Small Steps—a school that serves Pre-K children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds—stood among the countless schools abruptly shuttered for the school year. As Small Steps is not just a school, but also the source of consistent meals for its students, its staff began soliciting food donations for its families. Over half a dozen Middle School students dropped off much-needed food.

Many students aimed to bring comfort and connection to seniors at the Brookdale Living Center by writing personalized cards and letters. Our students sure miss the quality time spent with the seniors in their weekly intergenerational theater class organized by Hope Stone and hope to keep putting smiles on their faces.

Fellow community members at the Bissonnet Campus remained on our Middle School students’ hearts and minds, particularly as younger Post Oak students transitioned to learning from home. Students recorded videos of themselves reading books and providing tutorials on hobbies ranging from baking to basketball.

Other projects included making homemade face masks (lots of face masks!), donating clothes to those in need, and delivering meals via Kids Meals. Students also assembled care packages of puzzles, crayons, and other items for children experiencing homelessness through House of Tiny Treasures.

In the words of one 7th grade student, Sophia, "I am passionate about continuing service learning during this time because right now there are so many people suffering or in need. I think we should all try to lend a helping hand however we can and care for those in our community who might need us."

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