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MLK Day of Service 2012Instilling the lifelong value of service has long been a hallmark of a Shady Side Academy education. Students in grades PK-12 engage in service projects throughout the year that reach beyond our campuses to the greater Pittsburgh region and around the world.

SSA MLK Day of Service

At the annual SSA MLK Day of Service, students, parents, faculty and staff from all three schools come together on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in January to devote an entire day serving others. At the inaugural SSA MLK Day of Service in 2011, 230 volunteers performed service projects at three locations. In 2012, the day grew to 300 volunteers working at eight locations in the Pittsburgh area, in 2013, nearly 325 volunteers served at eight locations, and in 2014 more than 300 volunteers at eight locations. The fifth annual SSA MLK Day of Service will take place on Jan. 19, 2015.

2014 MLK Day of Service recap | 2013 MLK Day of Service recap

2012 MLK Day of Service recap | 2011 MLK Day of Service recap

School-Year Service Efforts

At the Junior School, every grade participates in an annual service project, in addition to school-wide efforts. Class projects include: growing and delivering flowers to neighbors in the community (PK); the Salvation Army's Bounce for Bundle-Up (K); the "Change for Haiti" fundraiser and planting spring bulbs (grade 1); a Thanksgiving food drive for a local food bank (grade 2); the American Heart Association's Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser (grade 3); the Animal Rescue League animal supplies drive (grade 4); and playing holiday music at area nursing homes (grade 5). School-wide holiday service projects include the annual Giving Tree and Hill House Holiday Toy Collection, which provide toys and presents for local needy children. View a list of Junior School service projects and descriptions.

 Global Action Conference Day 2013

At the Middle School, students in each class decide upon service projects that are meaningful to them, and a student-led Community Service Committee spearheads school-wide service projects. Past projects included drives for food, supplies for Haiti, and clothing for local Somali refugees; fundraising efforts for breast cancer, diabetes and cancer research; and clean-up work at the Family Resources Retreat Center and flower gardens in the city of Pittsburgh. In 2013-2014, the school held its first Global Action Conference Day, a comprehensive day of service learning for the entire student body that included educational sessions with local nonprofit organizations, hands-on service projects, and planning for how to continue their service efforts for the rest of the school year. Learn more about Global Action Conference Day 2013.

At the Senior School, a wide variety of service opportunities are available to students:

  • Service Learning Program – Activities include volunteering at soup kitchens and food banks; hosting blood drives; restoring/rebuilding homes; mentoring through Big Brothers/Big Sisters; organizing alternative spring break trips and more. Learn more.
  • Parkin Fellowships – Students can apply for summer fellowships to participate in service projects around the globe. Learn more.
  • Untucked  – This student organization puts on a community carnival and concert each year to raise money for charity. The students volunteer with the selected charity all year long. Learn more.
  • Student Clubs – A number of student clubs focus on service projects, such as the Environmental Club, Haitian Connection, Meals on Wheels and more. Learn more.


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