Over the past two years, engaging in service activities outside of our campus has proved more difficult. Our weekly advisory service at Surrey Urban Mission came to an end, international service trips were paused, service week for Grade 10s wasn’t possible, and other initiatives with outside organizations became more difficult to facilitate. With much of our service program on pause, our students still found creative ways to become involved, to give back to the community, and to contribute to something greater than themselves. This included our Halloween Food Drive, Holiday Hampers, Project Backpack, and many other student-led service initiatives.
With the start of a more “normal” school year, we have been able to rekindle our relationship with many of our service partners from previous years and we have also added new opportunities. The goal this year is for every Southridge Senior School student to engage in community service. As articulated in our mission statement “each student is encouraged and challenged to be someone who . . . understands the rewards and sacrifice of community service.” Every Friday an advisory group will go to a different location in the South Surrey/ White Rock area to complete a community clean up. We have already had three advisories head out into the community to support this environmental service initiative - Blizzard 3, Hurricane 6 and Lightning 1. By all accounts, we have had great success so far!
As part of Leadership Experience Week (LEW) our Grade 10 students connect with various community organizations and this year they completed three full days of service. I had the opportunity to visit all of our Grade 10 service sites and I was blown away by the work ethic, commitment, and positivity of our students. They worked so incredibly hard - shovelling, digging, raking, planting, painting, teaching, supporting, cooking, baking, and filming!
I know that many of them went home each day feeling exhausted - physically and emotionally - but they came back the following day and did it all again! Their impact was felt across the community and they should feel so very proud of the work they did. They truly embraced our mission and understood the sacrifice of service.
With more opportunities on the horizon, I encourage all of our students to step outside of their comfort zone, to find opportunities to support others, and ultimately to make a difference in the world.
Contributed by Laura Holland, Senior School Vice Principal - Student Life