Published : Thursday, August 9, 2018 | 7:10 PM
Civic engagement is an important component of a private school education, and, at Clairbourn, citizenship is one of the values in its Code of Ethics. Beginning in preschool, students actively participate in thoughtfully organized, age-appropriate service activities that teach civic responsibility and meet community needs.
Classroom-based activities go beyond simple volunteerism and include specific instruction, discussion, guided participation, reflection, and hands-on projects that involve, when appropriate, face-to-face interaction with those who receive the service.
Sometimes projects involve the sharing of ideas and projects with students in schools around the world, such as fourth grade students exchanging hand-made bookmarks with students in Pakistan, with each bookmark reflecting some element of school life in the respective country.
One important characteristic of Clairbourn’s service learning program is the ability of even young students to make thoughtful decisions that have real results. Many projects come from ideas suggested by students who have seen or heard of a need and want to work with classmates to respond to it.
• A student wanted to fix up a broken bike and donate it to a charity. He worked with a teacher who established an elective class for middle-schoolers to refurbish old bikes which are then donated to a local home for abused and neglected children.
• Two Middle School girls started an independent service project where 400 pairs of shoes were collected and donated to the Soles for Souls charity. They mobilized the student body to bring in their shoes that were no longer needed and then partnered with Clairbourn’s fifth graders who counted and sorted the shoes for their class service project. They even raised funds to help pay for shipping.
• Kindergarten students brought cheer and companionship to the neighborhood senior care facility by singing holiday songs and spending time visiting with residents. Sixth graders followed up by recording oral histories of some residents and making posters of their lives.
• Middle School students worked at a local food bank, stocking shelves, and distributing food to individuals and families.
• Second graders collected and donated pocket change (amounting to thousands of dollars) to a transitional family living facility. They also toured the facility at the end of the project to see the impact of their service work.
Clairbourn is a member of Student Philanthropists Advancing Real Change (SPARC), which provides opportunities for select middle school students to gain hands-on experience in establishing and operating a foundation. Students learn how to evaluate and make grants to charitable organizations in the local and surrounding areas.
The Clairbourn Families Association (CFA) provides a number of projects that allow parents to model service and giving to their children. These events often involve the whole campus in one unified charitable giving effort, such as the Holiday Giving program where faculty, staff, children and their parents select and purchase gifts for needy children registered with the Foothill Unity Center.