The Episcopal Academy Volunteer Service Cooperative: Serving to Learn; Learning to Serve
We strive to foster the spirit of radical hospitality as a way to serve the needs of others. We view volunteer service as an opportunity to develop collaboration among our many constituents–students serving with teachers, alumni serving with students, and teachers serving with parents. Through serving the needs of others, we create a common goal of embracing the needs of others as our own. Service allows us to cultivate a fundamental ethic and spirit to respect the dignity of every human being.
Volunteer service begins in PreK and continues through graduation and beyond. Through a wide variety of service opportunities, we teach our students that it is essential to make the stranger our neighbor in order to live lives of faith, purpose and integrity. We strive to inspire our students to ask two central questions: First, what do I know about the world? Second, what do I want to do about it?
Learn more about the EA Volunteer Service Cooperative below.
Students can match their own gifts and talents with service opportunities in the following categories:
- Education: Working with organizations such as Horizons, ACLAMO, Melmark School, and St. James School in Philadelphia
- Medical: St. Marc’s Medical Clinic (Haiti); St Anne’s Infirmary (Jamaica)
- Relief Work: UCHC Soup Kitchen, St. Mary’s Food Pantry, SHARE, EA’s Community Cupboard, Cradles to Crayons, Ronald McDonald House, Broad Street Ministries, and other organizations
- Geriatrics: Dunwoody Retirement Community
- Environmental: Mill Creek Farm, Willistown Preserve
- Community Development: St. Marc’s School (Haiti)
Composed of student-selected representatives from each class, the Student Service Board meets weekly to discuss ways to engage and inspire the EA community. The student members bring with them a passion for service and a wide range of talents, interests, and gifts.
Faculty Advisors: Fr. Tim Gavin and Mrs. Becky Brinks
In 2012, The Episcopal Academy developed a partnership with St. Marc’s School in Cerca, Haiti. Our primary goal is to help students realize that we find our own humanity in making the stranger our neighbor.
This partnership allows our students to see a world that is completely different than their own – a world without plumbing, electricity, roads, modern conveniences, or clean water. This partnership allows students to learn that embracing the needs of others as their own will lead them to a purposeful life. In addition, students learn that happiness is not brought about by material wealth but through community. Our mission is to foster a mutually respectful relationship between our schools.
To date, we have built a new school, brought solar power to Cerca, and built a water purification system. Our next step focuses on developing a farm to help the people in Cerca battle malnutrition. Each April, a group of EA students, parents, and teachers set up a two-day medical clinic offering dental work, eye exams and glasses, and a general health check. We have established medical records and are able to examine the data to see what are the most important medical needs of the students and families associated with St. Marc’s School in Cerca, Haiti.
If you are interested in becoming involved in The EA / St. Marc’s Partnership, please contact Fr. Tim Gavin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Horizons at EA
Horizons is an award-winning national network of community-centered education programs offering economically disadvantaged children an exciting learning environment on private school and university campuses.
In 2013, Horizons at EA held its first six-week summer program on campus with 30 kindergarten and first grade students from Frederick Douglass Mastery Elementary School in North Philadelphia. In 2016, Ardmore Avenue Elementary in Lansdowne was added as a second partner school. With a new kindergarten class each summer, the program reached full capacity in 2020, providing summer learning opportunities for 135 students who return each summer through 8th grade.
Our summer program provides meaningful volunteer opportunities for Episcopal Upper School students and the Horizons school year program has volunteer options for Episcopal Middle School students. Each year, typically more than 100 EA students volunteer.
Is there a service requirement?
We hope that Episcopal Academy students will choose to engage in service, taking advantage of the many volunteer opportunities that are available. While there is not a minimum hours requirement as such, students are required to participate in one form based Day of Service each year where students and faculty serve together with our community partners. We feel that as a faith based community, this simple commitment is as important as any other school requirement and offers the potential to raise the consciousness of our students and inspire them to greater service.
I'm interested in holding a fundraiser. How can I do this?
In order to further students’ understanding of philanthropy, any fundraising activities for organizations outside of the Academy must include service to that organization. All fundraising done at the Academy is to support either the Academy or its community partners. The Community Service office must first approve any fundraising done outside of the school’s Advancement Office.