Service learning is a powerful and important part of students’ education at Lakeside Upper School. The program enables students to respond to real needs in the community while cultivating compassion, developing a sense of social justice, enhancing moral character, and broadening personal perspective.
Service learning at Lakeside Upper School:
- Develops students’ connection to our community – both Lakeside and beyond.
- Encourages civic and social responsibility.
- Provides opportunities for students to learn about challenges facing communities, such as language barriers, poverty, hunger, and lack of education.
- Allows students to demonstrate leadership and responsibility, while learning from a wide range of people.
- Exposes students to new challenges and creates opportunities for self-discovery.
- Leads to the discovery that even small positive contributions can contribute to the greater good.
The service learning program is centered on partnerships built between Lakeside and community organizations. The service learning coordinator helps each student connect with service partners that provide opportunities for community-based learning and self-reflection. Our students work with 80 organizations on initiatives ranging from tutoring younger students to making food at homeless shelters to learning sustainable farming or habitat restoration processes from community leaders.
Each Upper School student must complete 80 hours of service to graduate (or 20 hours for each year of attendance). However, Lakeside students make service a priority; on average, each Lakeside graduate reports 146 hours of service.
For more information about the Upper School Service Learning Program, see our curriculum guide.
When volunteering for Lifelong, it was the weekly, two-minute encounters that leave the greatest impact. There was a mutual connection established with the predictability of the service. The people we delivered meals to relied on us for food and social interaction, while we looked forward to checking in on them. It is amazing the depth of connection you can develop with someone who you see for two minutes per week. – Jennifer F. '24
Lakeside’s Service Learning Program seeks to develop the desire and ability to give back to one’s community. Through Middle School service learning, students come to understand that we all can learn from each other; that it is never too early to have an impact; and that the common good is everyone’s responsibility.
Middle School service learning is conducted in grade-level groups, four times a year. Specific projects may shift from year to year, but they all involve active learning, benefit the community, and culminate in meaningful, guided reflections. Students work side-by-side with their teachers, which promotes a sense of shared purpose and community.
Fifth-grade service-learning projects are designed to teach students how – even at a young age – they can have a positive impact on the lives of people in the Seattle area and on our local environment. Past activities include a school-wide food drive, preparing gifts for a party at a youth shelter, and clearing a nearby orchard of fallen apples.
Environmental restoration is the theme of 6th-grade service projects. Students learn how sustainability at the local level can impact the global community. Past activities include working with EarthCorps on environmental cleanup and restoration projects in Seattle-area parks, and managing the Middle School recycling program.
Community issues and development is the theme of 7th-grade service projects. Seventh graders visit four organizations throughout the Puget Sound region that are focused on important issues facing our community. Past activities include cooking lunch for those in need with Operation Sack Lunch, volunteering with elders through Aegis Living, and gathering supplies for foster children through Treehouse.
Lakeside 8th-graders participate in cultural immersion and service learning trips, which are part of our Global Service Learning Program. Learn more about these weeklong trips on the Global Service Learning page.