Collegiate Freshmen Engage with the Community

Every February, as part of their Service Learning curriculum, Collegiate School 9th Graders participate in Community Engagement Week, during which they volunteer at local nonprofit organizations and schools.
“The week is designed to develop a sense of understanding and responsibility in our students about broader community issues and to have meaningful impact through positive engagement and local advocacy,” said Suzanne Fleming, Collegiate's Director of Civic Engagement and Service Learning.

This year’s theme is “A Strong Community Invests in its People” and focuses on three groups: youth, people with disabilities and the aging.

Today, the freshman class heard from John Martin, President and CEO of the Southeastern Institute of Research, about the challenges and opportunities facing these individuals. They also learned about the changing demographics of Richmond.  
For the next three days, the 9th Graders will spend time at 13 partner organizations that work with members of these populations, including Lakewood Manor, The Hermitage, Faison School, Linwood Holton Elementary School, St. James Children’s Center and the Children’s Museum of Richmond. The students will interact with residents and students and perform necessary paperwork or cleaning duties.

They will regroup on Friday to reflect on their work in the field and hear an overview of how poverty in our city impacts youths, people with disabilities and the elderly. They will participate in four different “advocacy workshops” to learn skills and opportunities for impacting local issues.

“By visiting community partners, the students gain insight into the needs of Richmond citizens and engage, in partnership with their English 9 classes, in service learning one of Collegiate’s eight pillars of Responsible Citizenship," Mrs. Fleming said.
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