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Service Learning through Kindness

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 community members 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 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.

Public Service In Action

Here are a handful of ways the Sanford community demonstrates its ethic of public service:
  • Upper school clubs focus on social justice and service initiatives such as the following: Diversity Alliance, Sanford Environmental Action League, Service Club, and the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA).
  • All 7th- and 8th-grade clubs are service-oriented in some way, serving either on or off-campus.
  • Lower school connects students with senior citizens through concerts at retirement villages and rehab centers at Halloween and the winter holidays.
  • Students collect canned goods for donation to food banks and other providers at Thanksgiving and during the months leading up to our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
  • Our annual Founder’s Day award recognizes the achievement of a parent, trustee, faculty member, community member, or other individuals whose selfless dedication to Sanford has made a significant difference in the life of the school.
  • Upper School students, ages 17 and older, volunteer to donate blood to the Blood Bank of Delmarva during Sanford's annual Blood Drive each spring. For many, it is their first time donating and gets them started on the journey to be regular donors for the rest of their lives.

MLK Day of Service Booklet 2021

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  • Middle School students volunteer

    Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

    Begun in 2006, our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service initiative is dear to Sanford. Our students and staff start the day on campus and then fan out to classrooms, soup kitchens, food pantries, clothing bank warehouses, cemeteries, and more to roll up their sleeves on behalf of others.

MLK Day Initiatives

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  • Some of the organizations Sanford's MLK Day supports include:

    • American Association of University Women
    • Brandywine Cemetery
    • Chester County Children’s Shelter
    • Clothing Bank of Delaware
    • Cokesbury Village
    • Connections Community Support Program
    • Emmanuel Dining Room
    • Faithful Friends Animal Shelter
    • Food Bank of Delaware
    • Franciscan Care Center
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • Hagley Museum & Library
    • Heifer International
    • K9 Partners for Life
    • Latin American Community Center
    • Longwood Gardens
    • QUEST Therapeutics
    • Ronald McDonald House
    • Sojourners’ Place
    • Tri-State Bird Rescue
    • Urban Bike Project
    • Urban Promise

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