Though not uncommon for students to engage in community service, many of Sanford’s service projects are student-generated, and the only motive is to help others. Sanford opts not to have a community service requirement because we feel that public service is a voluntary activity. We promote a school-wide culture that acknowledges and values the importance of service and hope our kids will choose to give their time and energy to help others because it is important to them.
That said, the benefits of service learning go well beyond to those whom we serve. Service participation shows significant positive effects on academic performance, values, self-efficacy, leadership, a greater sense of empowerment, likelihood of volunteering in the future, and more (see research here
Service Learning is a personal endeavor, however, Sanford does require it during our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Adopted in 2006, this annual event naturally evolved from Sanford’s culture of community service—an ethic that has always been strong and has roots in Sanford’s very founding.