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.
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 those less fortunate. At the inaugural SSA MLK Day of Service in 2011, 230 Shady Side volunteers performed service projects at three different 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 around the city..
Visit the MLK Day of Service web page
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); leading the school's recycling efforts and the 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 needy children. View a complete list of Junior School service projects and descriptions.
At the Middle School, students in each class decide upon service projects that are meaningful to them. Past projects include drives for food, supplies for Haiti, and clothing for local Somali refugees, as well as fundraising efforts for breast cancer, diabetes and cancer research. The Form II (8th grade) class also participated in clean-up day at the Family Resources Retreat Center, and a fall clean-up of flower gardens around the city of Pittsburgh. A school-wide Community Service Committee works on service projects throughout the year.
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.