Research, Advocate, Act
Hewitt students participate in multiple service initiatives each year. As part of their Hewitt education, students learn to research, advocate, and act for the betterment of their community and the world, becoming socially aware members of local and global communities. The emphasis on student-centered, experiential learning in lower and middle school classrooms fosters a mindset that blossoms in the upper school into a full-fledged Experiential Initiatives program, which takes Hewitt young women beyond the walls of Hewitt. The program gives students the opportunity to take a deep dive into a particular area of interest through an experience that is practical and hands on. Such experiences are key to guiding young women in cultivating a sense of purpose.
Service Learning and Community Purpose
Hewitt’s lower school service learning program brings the school and community together in partnership to share resources, meet real community needs, and educate our young girls to become the change agents of tomorrow. For example, after third graders learned about the Lenape and explored the importance of respecting the environment, they volunteered to help clean up Central Park.
The service learning experience promotes reciprocal benefits for all participants and a renewed sense of community connection while upholding the principles embodied in Hewitt’s mission statement. As another example, lower school students made Valentine’s Day cards for the residents at a local nursing home and kindergarteners delivered the cards to the residents while singing Valentine’s Day songs. After reflecting on this experience, the kindergarteners verbalized the importance and significance of connecting with the local community.
Service Learning and Community Purpose
In middle school, we incorporate service learning into both the advisory program and the academic program. Students experience a personal sense of purpose and think about what it means to be of service to a community through activities such as Family Service Day, Central Park Clean-up, and service trips. Each grade participates in projects that connect to the curriculum so that students learn that service opportunities arise in all areas of study.
For example, in grade 6, girls extend their learning about ecology to hands-on activities that teach environmental stewardship, such as tree planting in the New York watershed. In grade 8, as part of leadership learning, girls participate in activities with older adults at the Carter Burden Center for the Aging. Girls also learn to be of service in the Hewitt student community through our cross-divisional buddies program.
Student-led Service Learning
Student-led service learning forms an integral part of the upper school’s curriculum and informs programming throughout the calendar year. As part of their Hewitt education, upper school students learn to research, advocate, and act for the betterment of their community and the world, becoming socially aware members of local and global communities.
Hewitt students founded the Student Service Board to establish a student-driven service program for all to join. Service Board representatives evaluate and assess our partner organizations each year. They work together as global citizens to make stronger connections at school and in the world. Through drives, classroom conversations, and guest speakers, the Student Service Board seeks to educate all constituents of our community about the organizations we support as a school.
Whether collecting crayons for pediatric hospital patients, cleaning up Central Park, or volunteering their time to create dental hygiene kits for local health clinics, Hewitt students have time and again proven themselves to be “thinkers, learners, and doers” who aim to affect their immediate and extended communities. Our partner organizations include:
- The Ronald McDonald House of New York
- Project Cicero
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital
- The New York Common Pantry
- The Bowery Mission
- Million Trees NYC
- Operation Gratitude
- Project Sunshine
- God’s Love We Deliver
- Meals on Wheels
- Health Advocates for Older People
- Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
- The Riley Sandler Memorial Foundation
- The NYC Food Bank