Seniors Enjoy a Win-Win Day of Volunteering

The Class of 2023 participated in Upper School Community Day by volunteering their time at local organizations, enhancing their intellectual, social, and emotional learning opportunities beyond the classroom.

Director of Global Learning & Upper School Community Service Erin Hamill said, “We were excited to be able to send our seniors out into the community again this year to volunteer at various nonprofit organizations in the St. Louis area. We haven’t done this since September 2019 due to the pandemic. Seniors paired up with their advisory groups, which was an excellent way to bond as a group, all for a good cause. The organizations were thrilled to welcome our students back this year and gave an overview of their mission and the work they do before the groups volunteered to make it a more meaningful experience.”

A few teachers and students shared the impact of the experience:

Upper School World Language Teacher Lily Childs took her group to Dewey International Studies Elementary School. Students enjoyed working on gardening, cleaning the surroundings of the campus, and reading books in classrooms. Aanya Tiwari ’23 had a memorable time gardening with Dewey’s fourth graders. “We shoveled and raked their plots with hopes to make room for new plants and friendships,” she said. “Following a tough two hours of gardening, we spent our last hour reading books with them. Their excitement was evident when they were shoveling plots and picking out plants, making TikToks with us, catching bugs, learning how to say new words, braiding our hair, running around in the playground, and the list goes on! As always, volunteering remains fulfilling in every way.” One student from Dewey shared, “The best thing at school is to go to school and learn new things!”

Three senior advisories visited KidSmart, a St. Louis institution for over two decades that provides free essential tools for learning, meeting a genuine need for students in the region. Students spent the morning preparing and filling backpacks with school supplies, while a few seniors prepared inspirational cards to share with younger students. Another group of students did minor yard work around the facility. Upper School Math and History & Social Sciences Teacher Aaron Proctor said, “All the MICDS kiddos were hard-working and appreciative of this awesome opportunity!” Upper School History Teacher Tanya Roth added, “Getting to spend time with our students by providing support in our community was a great experience. I was excited to see how well the students stepped up to give back and give their time and attention to the staff at KidSmart.”

Another set of advisories went to the Seed St. Louis Community Garden in Dogtown. Students dove into various garden maintenance duties to help the organization transition to raised garden beds. They broke down tree branches, removed and moved rocks, cut and dug up unwanted plants, and moved mulch. “My advisory quickly learned just how laborious gardening can be! We all got our hands dirty and worked up a sweat, moving rocks and digging up mulch and plants. Many tasks also required teamwork, especially moving rocks and large sunflowers. My advisory was TIRED afterward and was ready for the air-conditioned bus. However, it was a great bonding experience for all of us to do something more challenging together,” said Upper School History Teacher Kristin Roberts.

Promise Community Homes welcomed several seniors to support their work providing housing for citizens with intellectual disabilities. Students worked on landscaping efforts for one of the homes.  “While I worked, I remembered that all the work I was doing for this house was helping to provide more housing and freedom to the disabled community,” said CJ Goot ’23. “I understood that the work translates into better lives for more disabled Americans. It inspired me to do a great job for these individuals.”

MICDS students also participated in community service at Nurses for Newborns and the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

“Watching the enthusiasm in which the senior class participated in a day of community service for different organizations around St. Louis was pretty inspiring,” said Senior Class President Peter Grace ’23.

Thank you, Class of 2023, for serving the St. Louis community!