New Hampton School values service learning for many reasons. It teaches through practice, it builds character, it’s project-based, and the skills it can teach are limitless. Several days each year, teams of students, faculty, and staff organized by advisory groups branch out into area communities to volunteer, connect, and learn. Pre-pandemic, these days were organized throughout the year as an integral part of our student life curriculum. While pandemic service looked different, the return of in-person calls to action is on the horizon when students return this fall as more and more centers re-open to visitors and volunteers.
For many Huskies, the summer season is the perfect time to work on President’s Volunteer Service Award goals by logging volunteer hours in their home communities. But where do they begin? Service-learning days offer inspiration for those seeking a new passion such as animal welfare, childhood education, supporting elderly neighbors, food security, disaster relief, social support, mental health, and much more. Below are some of our students’ favorite near-to-campus places to volunteer throughout the years.
For the love of animals
Visiting pets and animals is likely the most popular service activity as it has inspired many Project Weeks and fundraisers on campus. The chance to work with animal rescue, sanctuary, and adoption services such as the New Hampshire Humane Society and Live and Let Live Farm taps into an intuitive drive for animal welfare, while also providing practical experience in care and safety.
While there is no shortage of faculty children on campus to visit, there are also numerous opportunities to support children in our area. From supporting the Lego Club and children’s programs at the Gordon-Nash Library to visiting a local school, students often find high-value rewards in working with kids. Whether they are reading a story or teaching them how to hit a softball in a sports clinic, the mutual joy of spending time together is beneficial for all involved! Mentoring and working with children is also a fantastic inspiration seen in many of the school’s service-based Project Weeks.
Supporting our neighbors
Being a good neighbor is important, and New Hampton School welcomes the call from members of our community who need help with odd jobs. This often entails home visits, clearing leaves in the fall, and other odds and ends to residents in town, and students remark about enjoying a local story and snacks from their host as a reward for their hard work. Outside of our New Hampton community, service-learning teams are also dedicated to visiting facilities such as Golden View and the New Hampshire Veterans Home, spending hours talking with and listening to the elderly.
Nurturing a passion for service
It is clear that volunteerism benefits both sides of the equation—and if you are seeking an opportunity, there are many who need help. After high school, do we expect that everyone will lead a life of service? Certainly not. However, with our core values of respect and responsibility and mission of active global citizenship, we do hope that students will go on to be passionate and action-oriented members of their community wherever their journey may take them. Nurturing this passion as a student may lead to the President’s Volunteer Service Award, but nurturing this long into their busy lives helps support a foundation for happiness in a world that needs more people to stop, listen, and act.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award is intended to recognize the best in the American spirit and to encourage all people to improve their communities through volunteer service and civic participation. This award recognizes those who give of their time and qualities to others, in order to strive for a life of gratitude and service.