“San Domenico - Where Caring is Common”
Reading to Rescue Dogs at Jessica’s Haven
The Kindergarten class practiced their reading with a very special audience - rescue dogs. They spent the morning with Jessica's Haven (JH) & Rescue. The children brought their favorite books to read to the dogs. Not only did they work on their reading skills, but, more importantly, they gave the rescues some extra TLC and socialization, which helps make them even more adoptable.
Three of the rescues - Fenway, Lulu and Abby - visited the kindergarten classroom for a short orientation prior to the trip.
We were lucky to have lots of parents as well as some Eighth Graders join us so that the Kindergarteners each had a person and a dog to read to.
Buddy Sisters at Lourdes Convent (Retirement Community)
Every year, each First Grader was paired all year with a “Buddy Sister” at Lourdes Convent, where there are several elderly Dominican sisters in residence, many of whom have been teachers, administrators, or volunteers at SD and other schools over the years. Each Spring, the First Graders meet their Buddy Sisters in person when we take a Service Learning trip to Lourdes. To promote connection in the meantime, the students have been making holiday cards for the sisters.
Most recently, they made Easter Day cards with thoughtful notes and pictures. Each card included some chocolate from the First Graders to their Buddy Sisters.
Cedar Textile Arts Collaborative
In April, the Second Grade prepared for their upcoming service learning trip to the Cedars' Textile Arts Center (TAC) where people with developmental disabilities go to work in the garden, tend farm animals, create beautiful textiles and more. Part of the preparation was hosting some very special visitors - gardeners from the Cedars TAC. They came to spend time in our own Garden of Hope with the Second Graders. This visit was a chance to really connect with some of the Cedars folks and get to know each other. We harvested lettuce, planted some sunflower seeds, and finally made a salad to share together.
Cedars of Marin Fine Arts Studio
The Third Graders went in small groups (four separate times) to visit the Cedars Fine Arts Studio in San Anselmo. While there, the students interviewed the artists and worked on group art projects.. Most importantly, they engaged and spend special time with the Cedars artists.
In preparation for the visits, three artists from Cedars visited the Third Grade - puppeteers Anna, Darren, and Kimmie. They put on a show they wrote with puppets they created and then answered questions.
Then we went to visit them.
Homeward Bound Family Center - Making Meals for Families Facing Homelessness
Every year, the Fourth Grade goes in small groups throughout the year to make meals for the families at the Homeward Bound Family Center (FC). There are nine families who were previously facing homelessness, living at the FC and each family has one room to share. While at the FC, HB provides support for the families to find permanent housing.
The final group of Fourth Graders went to the Family Center in April. They prepared empanadas for the families who live there.
Most of the adults at the FC are single, working mothers with young children so having an easy, nutritious, tasty meal ready when they get everybody home makes life a little easier. Here are some photos of our winter visits.
Fireside Apartments for Low Income Seniors & Families - Running a Food Pantry, Games & Breakfast
Throughout the year, each Fifth Grade Leadership Team takes a turn going on a Service Learning trip to Homeward Bound of Marin’s Fireside Apartments for low-income seniors and Families.
Homeward Bound of Marin is the county’s primary provider of homeless shelters and services for the homeless. Fireside is one of the Homeward Bound facilities and provides permanent, affordable housing and many other services for seniors facing homelessness.
At Fireside, the students manage the food pantry, which is fully stocked by the Marin Food Bank, for the elderly residents and families. Not only do the students sort and bag the food, but they also distribute and hand deliver it to the seniors, some of whom are housebound. To promote real connection, the students also bring breakfast for and play Bingo with the elderly residents.
One generous parent brought daffodil bouquets for every single resident. As you can see from the pictures, it was a busy morning of service, connection, laughter, and fun.
A Thank You Note from Fireside to the 5th Grade
Middle School Service Learning Club
SD for Literacy
The Service Learning Club spent March taking a leadership role in the all school service week SD for Literacy.
They made signage, raised money and, finally, spent a morning as book buddies for Sixth Grade students from Hamilton School, helping them find just the right books at the Global Book Exchange.
Exchanging Easter Cards & Final Visit
All year long, the Service Learning Club has been visiting a retirement home called Bello Gardens. Each club member is paired with a resident there. They spend one on one time during the visits and send holiday cards in between.
Before our final of five visits to our Bello Buddies, we made Easter cards for them. We always include pictures on our cards so our Bello Buddies recognize us each time we visit. They made fun filled Easter eggs for us.
When we visited for the last time, we brought breakfast treats to share and decorated kindness rocks together. The residents received much love and connection from the students.
SD for Literacy
This all- school, week-long service effort was launched this year and we are hopeful it is the start of a great tradition.
We evolved our school's book fair and PSA service week to create a week of community caring and support for Hamilton School in Novato and Global Book Exchange.
Together, we accomplished the following:
- We donated over 2000 young adult and children books in excellent condition through our week long book drive
- Our MS and US students got 1,440 books into the hands and homes of Marin children who might not otherwise have access to owning their own home libraries
- Our 6th grade donated a set of "Wonder" for another school's classroom reading experience
- We raised funds through partnering with Book Passage and are purchasing books for the 6th and 3rd grade teacher classroom reads and libraries at Hamilton School in Novato.
Below are two of many, many thoughtful thank you notes from Hamilton School teachers and students...
We thank ALL our students for their amazing dedication to being of service in our community.
- Gail McCallister, Service Learning Coordinator, K-8