Seventh Graders Complete Grade-Level Community Service Project

Collegiate School 7th Graders this week finished their grade-level community service project, Connect Richmond, during which they worked with 14 local nonprofit organizations.
Service learning, one of the eight pillars in Collegiate’s Institute for Responsible Citizenship, appears throughout the School’s divisions and grade levels. It serves as a teaching strategy that integrates meaningful service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning process.

Connect Richmond, now in its third year, fosters interaction and connectionbetween students and the individuals they meet in the community. Once a week since March 20, students visited sites including The Faison Center, Circle Center, Sarah Dooley Center for Autism, YWCA Sprout School, The Hermitage, Lewis Ginter, Linwood Holton Elementary School, St. Joseph’s Villa, Spring Arbor of Richmond and Shalom Farms.

Middle School English teacher Meg Dalrymple accompanied some of her Advisory students to Sarah Dooley. She says that her students grew so much during the time they spent there.  

“Each week my students became more confident and more involved in assisting and encouraging the students with autism through their daily programs and learning activities,” she said. “I have no doubt that we were all a bit changed by the experience, and I think we all returned to Collegiate feeling so inspired by the children and staff's relentless pursuit for progress.”  

Connect Richmond serves as a building block for students and prepares them for Envision Richmond in 8th Grade and Community Engagement Week in 9th Grade, says Suzanne Fleming, Collegiate’s Director of Service Learning and Civic Engagement.

“By engaging with various organizations and people throughout Richmond, students develop empathy and a deeper understanding of their surrounding community,” she said. “When that experience is coupled with curricular ties to English and Advisory, the experience becomes richer and more meaningful."
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