Project SERVE: A Day Spent Building Community

On October 7, Bosque School students participated in Project SERVE—a day devoted to service learning and an anchor during our fall semester. This year, five upper school service learning groups (the majority of this year’s senior class) and a few enthusiastic middle school students engaged in various remote, as well as in-person service initiatives. Longtime community partners hosted our students at their sites, new and returning community guests attended Zoom meetings, and self-designed work took place at our students’ homes and backyards. For the in-person events, COVID-19 health and safety regulations were a prerequisite in the process of planning partner sites. All students were called to action, aligning with one of Bosque School’s core values and founding principles—community and service—as a private school, with a public purpose.     
 
The upper school Project SERVE model allows students to experience a day of uninterrupted structured service learning during school hours early in the year. This model infuses and energizes students to take on weekend and after-school projects throughout the remainder of the year. Project SERVE also fosters cross-grade interactions and friendships while introducing student leadership opportunities for freshmen and new students. It also provides student leaders an opportunity to further hone their leadership skills through organizing specific components of the day’s program, such as designing ice-breakers and team-building activities, presenting foundational information about the groups’ missions and focal points, and making arrangements with guest speakers. 
 
 
Last week’s Project SERVE  projects included:
 
Amnesty International – a remote workshop exploring Amnesty’s national campaigns,  the plight of refugees in Albuquerque, and preparations for upcoming remote tutoring and homework connecting with refugee youth at Van Buren Middle School and Highland High School. Expert content was shared by special guests from Amnesty Int’l USA, APS-Refugee support services, and Vizionz-Sankofa. 
 
Arts & Literacy Therapy Organization (ALTO - a merger of BATS and HPA) - a remote workshop hosting Horizons’ Executive Director and a super librarian and educator who inspired students with information about libraries as democratized safe spaces; followed by instructional content for preparing effective recorded video lessons promoting literacy, arts, and music for youth throughout Albuquerque.  
 
Community Activists for Food Security (CAFS) - Special guests from FBT Architects providing project guidelines for participating in a design project (an outdoor shelter for clients waiting in line for food boxes during colder winter months); followed by an enthusiastic presentation from a local food justice activist and community organizer.  
 
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) – supported people experiencing homelessness by organizing supplies, writing supportive notes, and packing backpacks for “A Night in the Light.” MRC students also contributed hygiene products and other donations as part of the day’s work.  Many hands make light work! 
 
Womxn’s Advocacy Coalition (WAC) - dedicated the morning to learning about in-kind/treasure philanthropy by soliciting pumpkins and other Halloween items from local businesses for donation to Crossroads for Women community members.  The afternoon included community guests representing Southwest Women’s Law Center and Solace. 
 
Following a long-standing tradition and arching back to 7th grade SL, seniors dedicated the day to working at partner farm and food pantry sites.  Bosque senior, Abigail, spent her afternoon at SpeakEasy Gardens, a small one-acre farm in the South Valley that is focused on growing food for the local area. “It was really powerful to see the community, learn the history of the farm, and understand the ways the farmers were trying to contribute to their community through something they love.”
 
Participating in Project SERVE was important to seniors in many different ways. “I think that it is a great way to learn about programs around the state that we would have not known about before,” said Myles ‘21. For Marisela ‘21, she gained perspective through seeing how hard farmers and small businesses have to work right now, and she wanted to give them a hand. “It was important for me to help my community, especially in this pandemic.” Others found value in spending time together and getting out of their regular routines.
 
“This is an exciting opportunity for deepening community partnerships, fostering youth development, and providing more meaningful connections to global issues in our local setting,” Ms. Rutins, Director of Service Learning, expressed. “A heartfelt thank you to all participating community partners, guest experts, student leaders, staffulty members, administrative staff, and educational leadership for support of this school tradition.”
 
If you are interested in learning more about Project SERVE and our SL program, please reach out to Ms. Rutins.
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