The following activities make up our Community Service program here in the Middle School, where our emphasis is on a hands-on approach to volunteering.
DAYS OF GIVING
This is one of the “big” events of the year for each of our three grades. Students are put into small groups, and along with a teacher and two or three parent chaperones, spend the morning volunteering at a local charitable organization. The morning’s activity is followed by a period of reflection.
PALMER FILLING STATION
This is a project which is only open to 6th graders. Twice a month, between 3.15 and 4.15 p.m., a group of 20 student volunteers congregate in the Middle School science room to help fill condiment pots with shampoo, lotion and toothpaste for the amazing Palmer Way Station at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church.
HOLIDAY GIFT BAGS
In addition to the Filling Station, we also have a special holiday gift bag for the homeless served by the Way Station. We aim to fill 450 bags with useful toiletry products which we collect in an on-going toiletry drive of unused sample or travel-sized toiletries (soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc). This is the only drive we have in Middle School as our philosophy is all about students’ active participation, but it runs all year long.
RONALD McDONALD HOUSE ACTIVITY STATION (RoMac Fun Pack Station)
This is a new initiative introduced in 2013, and is only open to 7th graders. Students make activity packs – games, craft activities, puzzles, etc – for the Ronald McDonald House, an organization that provides accommodation and other valuable services for families who have a child with a serious illness and need to spend several weeks or sometimes months in hospital. Once a month, a group of 15 student volunteers meet to help put these packs together.
CANDLELIGHTERS FALL FAMILY FESTIVAL
The Candlelighters’ Festival is a fun Halloween party for children affected by cancer and their families, organized and hosted ONLY by 8th grade students. Around 500 people attend the FFF each year, so lots of 8th grade volunteers are needed to help run the games and activities.
It’s all hands on deck for Middle School students and parents for this amazing event! We are incredibly honored each year to host the SOTX (Special Olympics Texas) track and field competition for around 300 athletes, and an additional 200+ coaches and family members. Special Olympics has been described as "one of the most rewarding and beneficial things students, parents and teachers do all year."
Student volunteer registration page: https://a04stjohnsathleticsvol2015.eventbrite.com
Adult volunteer registration page: https://a04stjohnsadultvols.eventbrite.com
NEHEMIAH AFTER SCHOOL VOLUNTEER TUTORING PROGRAM
The Nehemiah Center has an excellent after-school program for children from under-served communities. Every two weeks, on either a Monday or Tuesday, six enthusiastic Middle School students volunteer to help the Nehemiah youngsters with their homework and reading.
Advisor and advisees arrange their own, generally one-off, service project over the course of the year. This might be during school time, after school, or on a Saturday or Sunday. Organizations that have been helped by our advisory groups include The Star of Hope, Hermann Park Conservancy, Tress for Houston, The Beacon, and the Christian Community Service Center.