Community Service

One of the principal means to realizing global responsibilities is through the school's Community Service Learning Program, which is designed

  • to instill self-confidence;
  • to enable students to discover interests and talents;
  • to develop the capacity to think and problem solve;
  • to foster a compassion and respect for others of all ages, from many different backgrounds and cultures;
  • to inspire students to learn by being active participants within their community.

Calhoun organizes and encourages community service as well as service learning, which is connected to classroom curriculum. Both initiatives meet the objectives of progressive learning, which is at the heart of Calhoun's philosophy—that people learn best through experience and discovery.

The value of civic responsibility and the central role it commands in Calhoun's culture has spread throughout the school, engaging even our youngest children. With the support of the Community Service and faculty advisors, students at every level initiate service clubs, social activist organizations and philanthropic fundraisers. The Community Service Learning Program is a key component of the Calhoun curriculum, with grade-level, division or all-school programming a valued part of school life. The adults in the community—parents, faculty and administrators—are active participants in these endeavors, as well.

While students from every division are engaged in school-directed service learning activities, Upper School students are required to do a minimum of 60 hours of community service on an individual level, in and outside of school. Upper Schoolers students have opportunities to engage in community service on a personal level by volunteering at any of Calhoun's affiliated organizations--including senior citizen residences, day care centers and food pantries--or the hundreds of non-profit organizations in the metropolitan area; engaging in park clean-ups or other neighborhood and citywide service activites; or organizing their own volunteer activities and fundraisers to support any number of worthwhile causes.

Division and Interdivisional Projects

In each division of Calhoun, age-appropriate programs involve the students in projects that are meant to expand self-confidence, teach understanding and respect for people of all ages from many different backgrounds and cultures, and to encourage students to become valuable members within the community.

There is also enormous value placed on service to the school community. In addition to Harvest Festival, when older students lead "families" of mixed-age groups, there are numerous opportunities created for student-to-student mentoring.

By engaging children at very young ages in community service, by encouraging understanding and respect for diversity, and by fostering sensitivity and compassion to others' needs, Calhoun finds that these values carry on in its students well beyond their school years. 

All-School Events

Harvest Festival and Earth Day

Harvest Festival (held just before Thanksgiving) and Earth Day provide opportunities for students to get together in cross-divisional “cluster family” groups that work together on community service, team-building activites and theme-related projects. 

Harvest Festival projects frequently involve craft-making, with hand-made items going to local hospitals or senior center ; letter-writing to government officials in support of legislation; food pantry collections; and fundraising to support disaster relief organizations and non-profit organizations.

Earth Day typically focuses on projects related to the environment and sustainability, though team-building activities are also central to the day's events.

Community Service Projects at Calhoun
For More Information

Debbie Havas Aronson '79
Director of Community Service
212-497-6508

Main Building 3rd - 12th Grades 433 West End Avenue New York, NY 10024 212.497.6500

Robert L. Beir Lower School Building 2.8 Years - 2nd Grade 160 West 74th Street New York, NY 10023 212.497.6550

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