Paws-ing to Serve the Community

Middle School students and faculty advisors paused their regularly scheduled lessons on Wednesday to participate in the second Paws for a Cause day of the academic year. The groups traveled throughout Hampton Roads, where they met with, and provided community service to, a number of different organizations in the region.
The day commenced with guest speakers from United Way of South Hampton Roads, tying to the fact that the first Paws for a Cause day of the 2017-2018 school year was centered around United Way’s Day of Caring. After showing a video describing the purpose and impact of United Way, the guests addressed the Middle School audience by sharing personal anecdotes and informing them where money they have collected through various fundraisers was distributed.
Following chapel, the groups departed from campus and ventured to their assigned location. Areas and organizations visited include Kiptopeke State Park East Suffolk Recreation Center, Camp Hope Haven, Virginia Beach SPCA, Calvary Cemetery, and the Brock Environmental Center, among others. Seventh and eighth graders visited places where they could do manual labor.
“Any time our students can learn about a local organization and then have an immediate impact through service is fantastic, and that is what we hope for our seventh and eighth graders this spring,” said Middle School Social Studies teacher Mrs. Maria Moore ’00, who spearheads the event.
While the seventh and eighth graders were working to better their community through physical work, the ninth graders took a slightly different approach. Focusing on service learning, the students partnered with an organization to learn about its origins – the who, what, when, where, and why – and how it continues to be successful today. Their time with the organization wrapped up with an activity to assist them with any needs.
“Our students came back to campus with smiles on their faces,” said Mrs. Moore. “It really was a meaningful day. (The students) are doing new things, meeting new people, and helping the community. They looked exhausted, but were also feeling inspired and had already brainstormed great ideas for future projects.”
They had time to reflect and further develop those ideas during a designated discussion period in the afternoon. Mrs. Moore created a packet full of questions to guide their dialogue on ways they could better serve the community through future service opportunities. By the end of the day it was apparent that the students left with an urge to continue to serve the community.