Today, Ms. Klema and a group of about 20 LWGMS students, faculty, and families are spending time with our friends and neighbors at the Immaculate Conception Church (adjacent to the school) preparing Thanksgiving meals for about 500 "senior citizens and shut-ins in our neighborhood". Immaculate Conception Church parishioners donated the food and money to support the effort, and today the volunteers are peeling, chopping, smushing, mixing, packing, and stuffing all of the delicious food. Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving morning, some of our students and families are coming back to help with delivery. Today is not a school day. It is a day of service. Thank you to our participants for their help, and caring for our community.
This week is Fall Field Trip week at L-Dub. Every fall the entire student body heads off campus with faculty members and hits the road, somewhere where they will stretch, learn, grow, and most likely even feel uncomfortable. For sixth grade students, this is their first chance to work on their LWGMS resilience. For seventh and eighth grade students, they are expanding on their foundations, pushing their boundaries, and coming back together as a group.
The 7th grade Service-Learning-themed trip is intended to help the girls and their teachers understand issues facing currently homeless and hungry populations, to humanize members of our community for whom this is a reality, to learn about organizations that are serving currently homeless populations, and to teach ways of advocating and acting toward change.
The group also spent time – in class and at home – with the following resources:
- Real Change newspapers
- The Way of Companionship by Margery Eyre and Elizabeth Gaythorpe
- Cabbage Soup by Kae Eaton
- View from the Tent by M.Barrett Miller
- Souls in the Hands of a Tender God: Stories of the Search for Home and Healing on the Streets by Craig Rennebohm
- Story Corps series Finding Our Way: Stories of Family Homelessness in the Puget Sound
On the first day of their journeys, the girls heard from speakers from Real Change and FareStart, and then they set out on public transportation, bags on their backs, to the following locations to offer their help and support: At Union Gospel Mission Hope Place, a group of girls helped out at the Children's Activity Center and served dinner; at Mary's Place the group offered their services to the Kid's Club and brought and served dinner to the guests at Bianca's Place, emergency family night shelter and home to 40 moms, dads, and kids; a third group brought collected donations of food and supplies to and spent time with the residents of Tent City 3, and then headed to Teen Feed to serve and share a meal with the kids there. The final group went to Jubilee Women's Center to spend some time with the residents and help prepare gift bags and birthday card for them.
All of the groups then walked or took public transportation to Epiphany Parish to spend the night in their shelter. The Parish has a strong relationship with Teen Feed and also watches out for the homeless in countless ways, particularly in helping people find places to stay overnight. Epiphany hosts Operation Nightwatch, a shelter for a small group of currently homeless men every Friday night. The girls learned about this operation and slept on the same floor the men share on Friday nights.
Today the girls met with Chaplain Eaton to debrief, process, reflect, and discuss what they learned, feel, and intend to do from here. Later today they are making their way on foot and via public transportation to Camp Long in West Seattle where they will spend some time as a group making a plan for their next steps in their Service Learning journey.
On September 23 a group of students will be giving a presentation about their classes' experience to our Board of Trustees at their annual retreat. The Board is committed to using the information our students bring to them to inform their strategic planning decisions in all aspects of the operation of the school.
Over 45 students from Lake Washington Girls Middle School participated in a two-day service event in partnership with St. Clouds restaurant and Angeline’s Women’s Center. On the first day of this event, students met at St.Cloud’s restaurant, located in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood, with bags of food donations and unbridled enthusiasm. John Platt, an Executive Chef and owner at St. Clouds, appraised the food donations and quickly orchestrated a restaurant quality meal based on what our girls and their families provided. John put our girls to work chopping vegetables, at the deep fryer, on the flat top stove, stuffing peppers, washing dishes, and more! Before we knew it, John and the L-Dub girls and parents had cooked up vats of shrimp gumbo, sweet chili chicken, and a variety of salads! The food was packed up and whisked away to Angeline’s, while parents and students stayed behind to return the restaurant to its original state.
The next morning, 36 students and several parents arrived at Angeline’s Women’s Center to decorate their dining room and serve the meal for lunch. Students created a festive dining space, waited on tables, and served up their delicious meal. It was a successful and profound experience all around: families and students were moved by the project, and John from St.Clouds had this to say...
Thank you all for your incredible enthusiasm and participation in this project! A special shout-out to Susie P’15 and Jenn P’15 for leading the charge!
You can see all of the photos from the cooking event here.
A big THANK YOU to Ms. Klema for organizing this event for the second year running!