Springing into Service!

Community service efforts among our students continue to forge ahead despite limitations due to the pandemic. With a few spring donation drives and service projects, our students are living the School’s Mission of embracing all the world’s people with compassion and leading lives of purpose and service. Learn about the most recent acts of kindness below.

Best Buddies
MICDS Best Buddies held a Kendra Scott fundraiser April 30 – May 1, where 20% of all purchases went directly to support the Upper School Best Buddies program. These funds help offset the costs of one MICDS Best Buddies student co-head attending a mandatory leadership conference and monthly events for our MICDS students and their buddies.

Best Buddies is an international organization that strives to normalize friendships between people with disabilities and people without them. MICDS Upper School students act as peer buddies and commit to a one-to-one friendship with a person with a disability, or they serve as associate members who are not matched with buddies but participate in meetings, go on group outings, and support the MICDS peer buddies. All members help increase awareness about disabilities in the St. Louis area and plan events to make these kids feel included in society.

Ally Kalishman ’21 said, “The Kendra Scott fundraiser was a huge success! Many MICDS families came out to support our cause and raise money to keep MICDS Best Buddies up and running. The money we raised will be a huge help as we go into planning our events for next year. Thank you to Mrs. Hamill, the Best Buddies coheads, and Kendra Scott for a wonderful experience!”

“The Kendra Scott fundraiser raises money for Best Buddies chapter events like Zumba, Buddiesgiving, and Pajama Jam, and it also sends one of our coheads each year to the mandatory Best Buddies Leadership Conference,” added Mimi Brown ’21. “I look forward to this fundraiser every year! It is consistently a success, and it always makes me so excited for the possibility of new Best Buddies events. In a normal year, I love seeing the Kendra Scott store brimming with MICDS customers, and it’s wonderful to see our community come together to support the club that made it possible for me to meet some of my best friends. I’ll really miss Best Buddies next year—I hope they get to use the proceeds from this fundraiser for some amazing, and hopefully in-person, events!”

Thank you, student leaders, and MICDS faculty sponsor Director of Global Learning & Upper School Community Service Erin Hamill, for your commitment to our Best Buddies program and ensuring its future success!

The Best Buddies leadership team at the 2020 (pre-pandemic) Pajama Jam. Back row L to R: Will Sloane ’20, Anna Scott Baur ’22, Mimi Brown ’21 Front L to R: Alexandra Johnson ’22, Gretel Wurdack ’21, Ally Kalishman ’21

Drive for ALIVE
The MICDS Upper School Domestic Violence Awareness Club (DVA) and MICDS PERIOD combined forces and collected travel-sized toiletries and feminine products to support ALIVE, a St. Louis-based organization that provides support for victims of domestic abuse. Bins were overflowing with toothbrushes, shampoo, deodorant, lotion, feminine products, and more to serve all genders affected by domestic violence.

ALIVE (Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments) was founded in 1983 through the shared vision of two Washington University alumnae who worked as advocates for abused women. ALIVE’s humble beginnings have expanded into a full-service domestic violence prevention agency which includes a 24-hour crisis line, emergency transportation, counseling, court advocacy, and community education and outreach. Their operational volunteer corps that started with eight women now numbers over 100 strong.

The mission of the MICDS DVA Club is to promote awareness of domestic violence and to support victims of domestic violence. The club was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic when people were encouraged to stay home, which unfortunately created difficult conditions making it harder for people to escape unsafe households. Through this drive, DVA’s goal was to collect items that victims may need when leaving harmful relationships and households. DVA states, “It’s more important than ever to raise awareness regarding domestic violence to help keep everyone in our community safe.”

Part of MICDS Period’s mission is to make sure all menstruators have access to period products. Going without the proper products can lead to disease such as Toxic Shock Syndrome, and overall, is highly uncomfortable for the menstruator. They believe that the survivors coming through ALIVE’s door should not have to worry about when/where they can get their next period product.

Head of MICDS PERIOD Emma Scally ’22 shares, “At PERIOD, we had always planned on doing some sort of drive, but we weren’t sure where our products should go. Our Head of Communications, Paige Naughton ’22, came up with the idea to partner with DVA. Feminine products are some of the most needed products in shelters, and at PERIOD we are always looking for new ways to support menstruators in need in our community. When we spoke with the heads of DVA, Caroline Cooper ’22 and Katie Mikulec ’22, they told us they wanted to expand the drive to collect other toiletries besides period products. Our faculty sponsors, Dr. Roth (on behalf of PERIOD) and Dr. Hansen (on behalf of DVA), were amazing facilitators. Their hard work and passion for community service as much as ours allowed this drive to happen. We collected a lot of products, and we can’t thank the MICDS community enough for their participation and commitment to service!”

Thank you, student leaders, and faculty sponsors Upper School English Teacher Dr. Julia Hansen and Upper School History Teacher Dr. Tanya Roth, for leading the way in the service of others!

Spring Cleanup at Stacy Park
The MICDS chapter of Sustainable Futures recently partnered with Washington University’s Clean Our Green group and the City of Olivette to remove invasive honeysuckle from Stacy Park. Student and faculty volunteers, along with our Head of School Jay Rainey and his wife Ruth, spent their time clearing honeysuckle using a cutting and painting technique, which is where the stems are cut and then “painted” with glyphosate to kill the root. The volunteers used saws, hedge clippers, and herbicide to clear a large swath of invasive bush honeysuckle next to the walking path, and treated it to stunt regrowth. This process creates space for the native vegetation to re-establish and rebuild a healthy ecosystem. We are grateful to WashU’s Clean Our Green group for facilitating the cleanup, and the Sustainable Futures Club hopes to continue the partnership with the Olivette Parks Department in the future.

Kareena Kanumury ’23 said, “As the president of Sustainable Futures, I have been so eager and excited to do outreach service! We finally did, and it was amazing! We learned about how honeysuckle was an invasive species and the negative environmental effects invasive species cause in our ecosystems. We cleared several invasive plants through our hard work and teamwork, and it was completely worth it! It’s a memory and an event that will stick with the club and me for a long time!”

“Cleaning up Stacy Park was a very enjoyable and hands-on experience,” shared Happy Phatak ’23. “It was a wonderful way to help the park and it gave everyone a great sense of accomplishment. One thing I always try to do in life is making the world a little bit better than how I found it, and this was a great opportunity to do just that. It also helped me realize just how many ways you can help out the community and that every little bit of good you put out into the world helps. I hope I get to do something like this again!”

Thank you, volunteers, and faculty sponsor Upper School Science Teacher Cassandra Galluppi ’10, for keeping our local community healthy, green, and thriving!