Service Learning

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. Students have the opportunity to take a deep dive into a particular area of interest through experiences that are practical and hands on. Such experiences are key to guiding young women in cultivating a sense of purpose.



In Lower School

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.

In Middle School

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. 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
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. 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:

  • The Ronald McDonald House of New York
  • Project Cicero
  • The New York Common Pantry
  • The Bowery Mission
  • AmeriCares
  • God’s Love We Deliver
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Girl Up
  • Riley's Way Foundation
  • All Souls Soup Kitchen
  • The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 
  • The NYC Food Bank
  • Operation Smile
Six middle school students pose with boxes of markers, glue sticks, and snack wrappers to be recycled

Sorting and packing recyclables for TerraCycle at Family Service Friday

An upper and lower school student sit on the floor decorating a bag with markers

Upper and lower school students decorate gift bags for visitors to the New York Common Pantry

Two upper school students stand in the library holding decorated gift bags

The student-led Confident, Healthy Women project collects hygiene supplies for women in need

Upper and lower school students in a circle on the rug

Upper school students teach lower schoolers about Hewitt's Hurricane Dorian fundraiser and the work of our partner organization, Americares

Upper and lower school students working on a project together around a table

Student Service Board members teach lower school girls about the Confident, Healthy Women project 

Three lower school students sit at a table making ham sandwiches

Making sandwiches for guests at the New York Common Pantry

Two students crouch in the grass raking leaves

Cleaning up Central Park

Four upper school students pose in Riley's Way t-shirts

Promoting kindness and empathy with Riley's Way Foundation

A group of upper school students display gift bags decorated by lower schoolers

Members of the Student Service Board assemble gift bags for women at the New York Common Pantry