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 up to 10 different local nonprofit organizations, and SSA volunteers peform hands-on service work all over the city. Now in its fifth year, the inaugural MLK Day of Service was held in 2011. Read about how SSA has impacted the communty each year:
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: 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 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 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 Somali refugees; fundraising for breast cancer, diabetes and cancer research; and clean-up work around the city. In December 2013, the school held its first annual Global Action Conference Day, a comprehensive day of service learning for the entire student body that included educational sessions with local nonprofits and hands-on service projects, which drove additional service efforts throughout the year. The second annual GAC Day was held in December 2014. Learn more about Global Action Conference Day 2013 and Global Action Conference Day 2014.
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.
- Weekend Tutoring – Students may volunteer to tutor elementary school students on select Saturday mornings at Urban Pathways Charter School in downtown Pittsburgh.
- 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 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.