On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, students were introduced to a new community service initiative envisioned by Bill Taylor. The goal: Provide opportunities for our School community to give back to others, and promote the ideal of citizenship. “Teaching our students that they belong to a community and, as such, have certain responsibilities to it is an essential component of teaching the concept of citizenship.” says Taylor.

The idea of serving our local community was introduced to students by their Form Advisors. The students were then presented with background information on two non-profit organizations whose work benefits children in the local community. This process allowed the boys to understand the dilemmas, and reflect on their values in order to make thoughtful action plans.

Placed in leadership roles, students are enabled to develop their organizational and problem-solving skills, and are encouraged to inspire and mobilize others in their efforts. Taylor explains, “Community service reinforces the idea of interconnection and interdependence, an essential aspect of understanding one’s role as a citizen.”

In break-out groups, faculty members facilitated planning and brainstorming sessions which proved to be a successful exercise in teamwork and collaboration. Using creative thinking to develop their ideas, the students began planning a community-wide fundraising event and are now preparing to put their innovative ideas into action, and tackle the challenges they have been charged with.

Through this endeavor, we have the capacity to help our students become great citizens and leaders. According to Taylor, “Young people learn a great deal from community service – they learn more about their immediate community and its needs. They also learn more about themselves. This is why I often use the term ‘service learning’. By serving, we connect with others on a human level. In a world that is increasingly disconnected, service reinforces the need for belonging and connectivity.”

This outreach initiative will culminate as a community-wide fundraising event hosted on the Trinity-Pawling campus May 1, 2016. Stay tuned for more details!