Community Service Outings Diversify

When it comes to community service, it can be hard to find that one thing that really connects with you, that one thing that really hits home. Well, finding that one thing is about to get easier. The Community Service Board plans to provide transportation to a greater variety of school-sponsored projects this year. By doing so, they hope to connect students with more places and people throughout the community.

Starting in October, the community service bus will begin to transport students to new programs each Saturday. In the past, the bus was reserved for travel to the Jubilee Center, a community center for underprivileged families, but now the board has decided that it will branch out to new places such as T.R. Hoover, a community center in South Dallas named after one of its original builders.

The center provides impoverished children with food, clothes, shelter and fun.

“They need as many students helping out as possible,” said senior Katy, President of the Community Service Board.

T.R. Hoover only brings in about $11,000 a year from funding and donations.

“[The new programs] give students more opportunities to find projects that work for them,” said Senior Natalie, Head of the Agencies and Drives Committee of the Community Service Board.

And starting in November, the bus will begin taking girls to Promise House, a refuge and shelter similar to T.R. Hoover.

Katy said she hopes that the Hockaday bus will not only provide girls with new places to go to this year, but also alert students to issues outside the “Hockabubble.”

“We really want to raise awareness about different organizations, and hopefully people will find their passion,” Katy said.

In addition to starting these new programs in Dallas, the Board has decided to start working with the Lower School and the Child Development Center.

Natalie and her committee visited the CDC and read Little Red Riding Hood to the children. Since Little Red Riding Hood has a coat, the girls connected the story to the fact that some children do not have coats. Then they pointed out to the children that they can help fix the problem by donating through the coat drive.

“With the Lower School it is more of an education process because sometimes it’s harder for them to understand that kind of stuff,” Katy said. “We really just want them to get involved.”

In addition to helping out with all drives this year, Lower School students will also begin participating in hands-on community service work.

Each grade level has a theme, such as animals or the environment, which they will focus on for the year. There will be speakers coming in, and the students will be going on a service trip.

“We want the Lower School students to join the Upper School students on service projects whenever it makes sense,” said Laura Day, Director of Community Service.

Yet another new aspect to Hockaday community service this year is Orgsync, the new online system for logging community service hours which, according to Natalie, makes signing-up for projects simpler and fairer.

“There have been some mixed reviews, but Orgsync is so much easier than our system last year,” Katy said.

Last year, when Community Service sign-up sheets were posted, girls rushed to reserve spots and, within just a few hours, all slots would be filled.

Natalie said that this caused students to complain, saying some girls had an advantage just for being there when the sign-up sheet was posted, running a bit faster or simply having a pen handy to sign-up.

“We decided that we would put it online so that everyone has an equal opportunity. You just have to take the initiative, go online and sign up,” Natalie said.  

With new technological systems in place and new projects underway, the Community Service Board looks to this coming school year with high hopes.

Day, specifically, has one central goal in mind, “I want to make this year way more about the educating and understanding of issues as opposed to just going out and getting hours because you have to.”

– Alexis