Community service is voluntary work intended for social organization and community support.
The transformational scope of the Institute further supports the mission of the School by connecting students with real-world opportunities to serve the community, partner with organizations, and lead lives of purpose and impact.
The first graders community service theme is animals. As part of their curriculum, they created a reading program at Operation Kindness, a Dallas-based no-kill animal shelter, as data has shown that reading to dogs reduces anxiety which improved adoption rates. Operation Kindness says that adoption rates have increased since the initiation of the reading program.
After her first volunteer experience at TR Hoover, a community center in South Dallas, Shreya Gunukula learned there were not opportunities for children during the summer like she enjoyed at camp. As a result, she raised thousands of dollars to create an eight-week summer camp with a curriculum and field-trip plan. To keep the summer camp operational, many Hockaday volunteers dedicate their summers to run this camp which is now in its second year.
Every Spring Upper School students partner with students from St. Mark’s School of Texas and Habitat for Humanity to build a house in 8 weeks. The 2019 house will be the twelfth house built by Hockaday and St. Mark’s students in West Dallas.
The Fifth Grade studies homelessness as their service learning theme and participates in a lesson in homelessness and a service project. Students create snack bags to give to homeless people with information on available shelters located in the Dallas area. The goal is to develop empathy and understanding of the issue of homelessness in the community. In addition, two optional service projects include making Halloween decorations in partnership with children in homeless shelters as well as visiting a homeless shelter for women and creating valentine cards with them.
A student notes “Community service is imbedded in a lot of what we do (at Hockaday). I love going to the tutoring services during lunch, to Jubilee, and to Habitat for Humanity. It’s created in me a desire to want to make a difference and it’s not just an obligation. I started going with my friends, and now I’m the head of a tutoring program at DeGoyler. I also volunteer at Jubilee on Saturdays. This year I was part of the Habitat build, which was fun.”