Over 800 students participate in first all-school service
SANDY SPRINGS, GA, September, 2006 – Mount Vernon Presbyterian School’s students stepped out of the classroom and into the community for a day of service. Over 800 students, faculty, staff, and parents participated in the school’s first all-school “Helping Hands Day.” Students in 4th – 12th grades left campus to volunteer at over twenty-five different agencies including Atlanta Children’s Shelter, Keep Sandy Springs Beautiful, Paws Atlanta, MedShare, and the Atlanta Community Tool Bank. Three year olds through 3rd grade students stayed on campus and participated in various activities, from making over 1500 sandwiches and 150 personal hygiene kits that were delivered to shelters to painting murals, posters and cards that are now decorating and brightening the walls of shelters and children’s agencies. All together, Mount Vernon volunteers contributed over 2000 hours of community service, all on the same day!
The 2006-2007 school year marks the beginning of the expansion of outreach activities at Mount Vernon. The Board of Trustees, along with the Head of School, Dr. Jeff Jackson, want community service to be an integral part of the student experience. Tami Lau, Director of Outreach Services, said, “I am thrilled about the outreach program for the 2006-2007 school year. I am very passionate about volunteering and truly believe that by involving all of our students in hands-on service activities, we are helping to shape them into great citizens of the future.”
Mount Vernon chose September 11 as “Helping Hands Day” in order to honor those who lost their lives in the attacks on the same day in 2001. The President had urged all Americans to remember those victims by volunteering and making September a “month of service.” Many parents and teachers commented that this day gave them the opportunity to talk with their children about giving back to the community. Jennifer Haywood, second grade teacher, said, “I loved the idea of the day. Kids want to be helpful, and this day gave them an opportunity to do that in a constructive way.” One sixth grade student demonstrated this as he wrote in his short essay, “I learned that I can help people with disabilities of all ages, and I can do a lot more for my community than I am doing.”
In addition to this all-school service day, students in all grade levels will have service opportunities throughout the year. The school values the importance of teaching selflessness, responsibility, and sense of community. Ms. Lau remarked how impressed she was on the effort made by all Mount Vernon students and how much was accomplished on one day just by coming together.