Instilling 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, hundreds of SSA students, parents, faculty and staff come together on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in January to devote an entire day to serving others. On this day, the Academy partners with local nonprofit organizations, and SSA volunteers perform hands-on service work all over the city. Now in its sixth year, the inaugural MLK Day of Service was held in 2011. Read about how SSA has impacted the community each year:
2016 MLK Day of Service recap | 2015 MLK Day of Service recap | 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: 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 nursing homes (grade 5). School-wide holiday service projects include the annual Giving Tree and Holiday Toy Collection, which provide toys and presents for local needy children.
View a list of Junior School service projects and descriptions.
| Video: Global Action Conference Day
At the Middle School, students in grades 6-8 participate annually in Global Action Conference Day, a comprehensive day of service learning for the entire school that includes educational sessions with local nonprofits and hands-on service projects. Each year GAC Day has a different theme, and each grade focuses on a different service effort under that theme. During GAC Day students meet in advisory groups to brainstorm additional service projects that they can carry out during the rest of the school year to continue supporting their cause. Read the recaps:
Global Action Conference Day 2015 recap | Global Action Conference Day 2014 recap
Global Action Conference Day 2013 recap
At the Senior School, a wide variety of service opportunities are available to students:
- Service Learning Club – 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.
- Weekend Tutoring – Students may volunteer to tutor elementary school students on select Saturday mornings at Urban Pathways Charter School in downtown Pittsburgh. Learn more.
- Parkin Fellowships – Students may apply for summer fellowships to participate in service projects around the globe. Learn more.
- Untucked – This student organization puts on a benefit music festival each spring 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.