St. Mark’s develops the habit of community involvement to awaken concern for those coping with hardship and to instill a lifelong commitment to service and advocacy. A meaningful program of mandatory community service will raise social awareness, develop the ability to communicate respectfully with all individuals, and teach sound leadership values and skills.
St. Mark’s distinguishes between community service and charity by emphasizing the educational, person-to-person nature of community service. Such service enables our students to play a beneficial role in the Dallas community, as well as in agencies serving special needs within the city. Students acquire knowledge and deepen understanding of their community through presentation of experts, direct observation, and personal experience.
Upper School students are required to complete 15 hours of service per year. A minimum of 10 hours is required for the first part of the year. The remaining five hours are required at the end of the second period. Middle School students will participate in a class project in the spring or the fall. Since the goal of the program is to foster empathy, develop an appreciation for a broad range of backgrounds and experiences, and to encourage students to step out of their traditional daily interactions, students will not receive community service credit hours for service at a private camp, church, synagogue, mosque, music/dance school, etc. unless they are directly involved in outreach through their organization.
Community Service & COVID-19
COVID-19 has impacted our communities and our partner agencies in ways that are hard to fully comprehend today, and it is hard to know the long-term effects these circumstances will have.
However, the needs of our community are still present and have more than likely increased. Therefore, we have been working hard to find new ways to face today’s challenges. Our goal for Community Service is to find new ways to achieve the same end: serve the needs of our neighbors.
We encourage our students to explore new opportunities whether in person or virtually. Many of the agencies we work with have made the transition to virtual events and drives. Just like it has been in the past, it will be up to the students and their families to determine where they do their community service hours, especially now considering health measures they have taken to keep volunteers safe.