Approximately 150 Shady Side Academy volunteers engaged in hands-on community service projects at six locations on the Academy's eighth annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018. 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 seven partner organizations, including Beverly's Birthdays, Meals on Wheels Southwest PA, Center for Victims, Soldiers' Angels Treats for Troops, Family House, HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital, and the H.J. Heinz Campus of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System.
More than 80 volunteers spent the morning at the SSA Junior School in Point Breeze, completing a variety of kid-friendly service projects. Students in grades PK-5, along with parents, teachers and staff, assembled birthday goody bags for Beverly's Birthdays, which throws birthday parties for homeless children; assembled care bags for kids who have to attend family court for the Center for Victims; made placemats and blankets for home-bound individuals served by Meals on Wheels; and decorated custom wrappers for Hershey Bars to be delivered to military personnel for Treats for Troops.
More than 70 students in grades 6-12 plus parents, teachers and staff spent day volunteering at different nonprofit partner organizations around Pittsburgh. Three groups of volunteers traveled to three different Family House locations, cooking a delicious meal of lasagna, salad, bread and cookies for residents. Family House provides a "home away from home" for patients and families in Pittsburgh for medical treatment. Another group of volunteers spent the day at HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital, where they visited with patients, and made them blankets, sun catchers and paper flowers. HealthSouth offers comprehensive rehabilitation services to return patients to leading active, independent lives. A final group of volunteers spent the day at VA Healthcare in O'Hara, making blankets, paper flowers and valentines for veterans, and playing bingo with them. The H.J. Heinz Campus of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System offers transitional, dementia, hospice, rehabilitation and outpatient medical care and services for veterans.
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!
Watch the 2018 MLK Day of Service highlight video: