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 program is highly individualized; the Upper School service learning coordinator helps each student connect with service organizations that reflect their passions and interests. Our students work with over 370 organizations on projects ranging from tutoring younger students, making food at homeless shelters, and volunteering in medical centers and hospitals. Students can also propose and launch their own projects.
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.
As a volunteer, I’ve developed relationships with others who want to learn for five hours straight about marine mammals. Beyond a requirement, service is an opportunity for personal exploration with tangible impacts. Service fosters connections, brings together groups of people, and creates positive change.– Olivia S. '20
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.
Local community support and enhancement 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.
At the start of 7th grade, students choose a service-oriented theme that interests them (such as hunger, the environment, or homelessness) and are placed into small service groups with a faculty leader. Before their first day of service, students participate in an orientation in which they learn about their topic and the service agency or site where they will work. Students work with the same topic and service agency throughout the academic year.
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.