From Fifth Grade students volunteering to rake leaves for members of the community to Seniors traveling to Nordette, Haiti to help children at St. Patrick’s School—from Middle School students chopping food at food banks to Upper School students tutoring refugees—CA students practice caring for people in need. They also show how much they care for the world they inhabit—removing graffiti from buildings, rebuilding hiking trails, and traveling abroad to research fragile ecosystems.
Caring about people and the land is not just theoretical at CA. It is embedded in our daily life and culture.
Service Learning at CA
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CA instills the value of service in young children by helping them understand that the world is filled with uniqueness and difference and empowering them to create change. Giving a voice to the needs of others, children come to understand how they can make an enormous impact. These are the roots of empathy, compassion, gratitude, and cultural competence based within a framework of experiences they know.
All Middle School students spend three mornings during the school year volunteering with their Advisory at different locations. Students might choose to spend their time visiting animals in a shelter, cheering seniors in a retirement home, reading with students who are learning to speak English, preserving a section of habitat along the South Platte River, helping food banks sort groceries, traveling to soup kitchens to prepare meals for low-income or homeless individuals, and supporting homeless and underserved people on pathways to self-sufficiency.
Additionally, for the past 11 years, CA Middle School students, inspired by the story of orphaned Sudanese children fleeing civil war in their homeland, have raised money to support one Sudanese orphan, Aguil Lual Deng. With Middle Schoolers’ support, she has been rescued from Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp and is being educated in Nakuru at the top boarding school. She graduated from primary school at the top of her class of 1,000 students. She hopes to become a medical doctor.
Service learning is woven into multiple areas of the Upper School, involving school-led projects and student-initiated endeavors. Within the first two months of the school year, all Ninth Graders participate in a day of service with their advisories off campus. Certain Global Travel programs [remove hyperlink] are entirely devoted to service learning, such as the Haiti trip, which is now tied to a Haiti history elective. Many Upper School classes also combine service in the form of teaching or volunteering in the local community. CA students are also members of a Philanthropy Board, which researches charitable causes and donates several thousand dollars to nonprofit charities annually.
Students also participate in service through multiple clubs like Children’s Hospital, Project CARE (dedicated to tutoring Karen refugees), Horizons Club, AfricAid and Students HOPE. CA students relish these opportunities and step up in meaningful ways, serving important roles as teachers and mentors, and becoming the best version of themselves. For example, HOPE, an organization led entirely by students, has served the community for over 25 years, bringing thousands of under-resourced families to campus each year for a hot meal, vaccines, gifts, and a visit with Santa Claus. Read about it here [link to: https://news.coloradoacademy.org/school-with-a-big-heart-offers-hope/] and watch the video: [insert a one-click HOPE video]
Service learning culminates in the Community Impact Project (CIP), a graduation requirement, in which all Seniors develop a service project to address a need they have identified in the community.
"I have always felt that I have so many blessings and opportunities at CA. That's why I wanted to be able to give back to others."