Dear Laurel Springs Parents and Guardians,
After the hustle and bustle of this past Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday came a less-publicized day called Giving Tuesday. #GivingTuesday is an international movement of charitable giving at the beginning of the holiday season. This prompted me to start thinking about all the ways Laurel Springs students give back to their communities in the form of charitable acts and service.
We recently shared a story on the blog about Upper School student, Michaela Sewall, who is truly an inspiration when it comes to giving back. Even though she has many priorities, she finds time to run a nonprofit organization, while following her passion for ice dancing and fulfilling her academic responsibilities. Michaela’s nonprofit, Cakes 4 Kids, provides birthday cakes for children living at the ACT Abuse Counseling and Treatment Center. Michaela told us, “Don’t ever believe that you aren’t making an impact, even if you aren’t doing something on a global level. Even the smallest things make a difference.” No truer words have ever been spoken.
Also, I am thrilled to be part of a Laurel Springs service-learning project on a global scale. I will be traveling with faculty and students in March to Ecuador’s Andes Mountains and the Galapagos Islands. Our service work will begin in Chimborazo working with ME to WE, a charitable organization that aims to initiate socially conscious changes around the world. We will be working alongside residents to begin a project that is eventually operated by the local community. We hope to bring a new level of empowerment and sustainable relief to the area.
Our learning journey actually begins with a course prior to the trip and extends into a final reflective project upon our return. Service learning helps students to develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, decision making, collaboration, and communication, while building positive relationships with community members. We hope that this trip will help develop a deeper understanding of themselves and empathy and respect for others.
During this time of the year, I would encourage you to give back in small or big ways. Let your children help decide which service-learning activities they would like to do. And once you give back, please share those acts of service with us–our global community can have a huge impact!
I wish you and your family a special holiday season. I’ll be sure to share all our adventures in Ecuador when we return.
Megan O’Reilly Palevich