Service Learning

Research, Advocate, Act


Hewitt students participate in multiple service learning 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, responsible, and active local and global citizens. 



In Lower School

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, fourth graders partner with All Souls Soup Kitchen, which is located just a few blocks from Hewitt and serves our local community. In addition to gathering at Hewitt to make sandwiches for guests at the All Souls Soup Kitchen, Hewitt students also volunteer on site each month. 

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, after third graders learned about the Lenape and explored the importance of respecting the environment, they brought Hewitt’s commitment to a sustainable future to life by volunteering to help clean up Central Park.

In Middle School

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. Middle schoolers also participate in local service projects, such as card-making for pediatric cancer patients through The Scarlett Fund at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

In keeping with the school’s mission and pillars, teachers seek opportunities to encourage students to solve real-world problems by using empathy to design solutions. For example, our eighth grade capstone project invites students to choose a problem to solve, interview stakeholders, and design possible solutions that will serve their communities. As they research challenges like providing access to fresh water or encouraging on-campus recycling and composting, students come to understand that service opportunities arise in all areas of study.   

In Upper School

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, high 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. For example, after researching ways to combat food waste, upper school students partnered with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine to develop a weekly food rescue initiative. Every Friday afternoon, student volunteers deliver leftovers from Hewitt’s dining room to a nearby community shelter serving members of our community who are experiencing food insecurity.

Hewitt students founded the Student Service Board to establish a student-driven service program. 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.


Service Learning

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:

  • All Souls Soup Kitchen
  • AmeriCares
  • Central Park Conservancy
  • Daniel's Music Foundation
  • Girl Up
  • God’s Love We Deliver
  • The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 
  • Meals on Wheels
  • The New York Common Pantry
  • New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Operation Smile
  • Project Cicero
  • Rescuing Leftover Cuisine
  • Riley's Way Foundation
  • Siena House
A group of students and one teacher pose on the pier with the East River behind them

Second graders learn about Hewitt's oyster research station and the Billion Oyster Project

four students wearing blue gloves, standing outside in Central Park

Lower school students help collect trash in Central Park

four students wearing hairnets and plastic gloves, standing by a bin of grains

Assembling food packages for Rise Against Hunger

three students standing near a stack of jeans folded on a table

'Pre-loved' clothing thrift sale

A student holds an oyster and leans over a rusted metal oyster cage. Next to her is a bucket of murky water.

Second graders visit Hewitt's oyster research station to help identify, measure, and record data for the Billion Oyster Project

one student wearing a hairnet and plastic gloves, holding an orange mug of grains

Assembling food packages for Rise Against Hunger

A group of students raking leaves in Central Park

Students volunteer in Central Park