St. Margaret’s service learning program creates in our students an awareness of the issues that face our local, regional, and global communities, nurtures a sense of compassion and responsibility, and instills the courage to take thoughtful action to improve the lives of others.
A pillar of our school’s mission is to educate students for lives of service. Our community believes that an essential outcome of St. Margaret’s education is that students and graduates feel the compassion, responsibility and calling to serve others and be active and contributing citizens within their communities and the world.
Our Episcopal identity guides our service learning program that focuses on empathy, understanding, compassion and activism, and begins with developmentally-appropriate activities in the preschool and builds through the Upper School years. Often the service experiences are tied to the content of our academic curriculum, making the service even more relevant and deepening the learning experience. Students have leveraged engineering skills to design and produce mechanical prosthetic hands for children in our EDGE Lab, traveled to the central coast of California to engage in drought reforestation actions as part of an AP environmental science, interviewed veterans and produced historical tributes in an grade 8 U.S. History, and organized relief efforts for the Nepal earthquakes as an extension of Model U.N. involvement among many other opportunities to learn and serve.
We emphasize and model the importance of service by purposefully taking time in the school day within divisions and as an all-school community for service. St. Margaret’s also partners with several non-profit organizations and leverages these sustained relationships to further the missions of the non-profits and provide powerful learning experiences for our students, including Father Serra’s Pantry, The Ecology Center, Operation Help A Hero and the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, Families Assistance Ministries, Second Harvest Food Bank, The Friendship Shelter and Welcome Inn.
The lessons of these kinds of hands-on service experiences leave students humbled, awestruck and with new understanding of issues and deep personal connections to the rewards of investing in and giving back to the community, making an impact, and yes, a difference.
As our students graduate, they are keenly aware of the global and local needs that face our communities, and feel a sense of ownership, ability and responsibility to take action. St. Margaret’s graduates have gone on to stellar involvement with Teach for America, Habitat for Humanity, Global Works, and other organizations that catalyze service in communities near and far. We understand that these great things all stem from the importance of small things; developing understanding, nurturing compassion, and deepening curiosity. Students who think, care; and students who care, do something.