SSA Volunteers Make an Impact on 2017 MLK Day of Service

MLK Day 2017 Volunteers

MLK Day volunteers Junior School - birthday treat bags
MLK Day volunteers Junior School - toiletry kits
MLK Day volunteers at HealthSouth
VA volunteers serving lunch
More than 150 Shady Side Academy volunteers engaged in hands-on community service projects at three locations on the Academy's seventh annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. The volunteers, which included SSA students in grades PK-12 plus parents, faculty and staff, celebrated the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by volunteering on the national day of service, making it "a day on, not a day off."

The volunteers' work benefited six partner organizations, including Beverly's Birthdays, Meals on Wheels Southwest PA, Auberle's 412 Youth Zone, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital, and the H.J. Heinz Campus of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.

More than 75 volunteers spent the morning at the SSA Junior School in Point Breeze, completing a variety of kid-friendly projects. Volunteers made birthday treat bags, crafts and birthday cards for Beverly's Birthdays, which provides birthday cheer to homeless children; assembled toiletry kits and wrote encouraging notes to young adults transitioning out of the foster care system for 412 Youth Zone; decorated placemats to be delivered with meals to home-bound individuals by Meals on Wheels; and cleaned and sorted donated books for Children's Hospital library.

More than 40 volunteers spent the day at HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital in Harmar, which offers comprehensive rehabilitation services designed to return patients to leading active, independent lives. SSA volunteers received a tour of the facility and visited patients; made blankets, sun catchers and valentine cards for and with patients; and helped transport patients to and from their rooms and therapy sessions via wheelchair.

Nearly 45 volunteers spent the day at the VA in O'Hara, making blankets and crafts for veterans, serving them lunch, and accompanying them to an afternoon performance in the rec hall. The H.J. Heinz Campus of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System offers transitional care, rehabilitation, dementia and hospice care, vocational rehabilitation, and outpatient medical services for veterans.

The Academy's annual MLK Day book drive, which was held in early January and spearheaded by the librarians at SSA's Junior, Middle and Senior School campuses, collected a total of 314 books for Children's Hospital library.

The MLK Day of Service is an annual community tradition at Shady Side. SSA held its first MLK Day of Service in 2011, and each year since, hundreds of students, parents, faculty and staff come together to make an impact in the Pittsburgh community.

"Instilling the value of service has long been a hallmark of a Shady Side Academy education," said SSA President Tom Cangiano. "It's important to us to be deliberate in finding ways for our students to engage with and serve the communities beyond our campus gates. The MLK Day of Service is an opportunity for our entire school to come together to be educated about social issues, engage in meaningful service and reflect on its impact."

THANK YOU to all of our MLK Day volunteers!

View a photo slideshow of the 2017 SSA MLK Day of Service.

MLK Day of Service Video:

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