Green Hedges School’s first Community Engagement Week began earlier this year with a group of committed parents, Trustees, and faculty coming together to re-imagine what was originally Stewardship Week at Green Hedges. Community Engagement Week was created to provide a designated time for students to engage with our local community. While the week may look and feel different than was originally intended, it is still grounded in providing ways for students to responsibly and respectfully contribute to the improvement of their communities.
The vision of Community Engagement Week is to foster partnership experiences with organizations in Vienna. The organizations that we intended to collaborate with during the week need our help now more than ever. While we may not be able to come together in-person to engage in activities with these organizations, there are still plenty of ways to help build relationships from afar. Below are ideas of activities that you may do as a family that further build upon engaging with your community. Engagement takes many different shapes and forms and we hope that one of these ideas sparks in your child a desire to provide joy to someone who may need it right now:
- Send thank you cards to local first responders, hospital workers, and grocery stores.
- Make care kits for delivery drivers to show your appreciation.
- Create positive messages in front of your house or apartment with sidewalk chalk.
- Use sidewalk chalk on your street to create hopscotch or other games to bring cheer to your neighborhood and those walking by.
- Freerice.com: Students complete online math to unlock food for others.
- Make dog toys for local animal shelters.
Throughout the week, we will also provide additional opportunities for service-related and educational activities. One will include a video on planting victory gardens and another by beekeeper Bill Hahn who will open up the working hive and while looking for the queen, he will discuss the difference between drones and worker bees, the cells of the hive, how honey is produced and what makes a healthy hive. We will be adopting one of the beehives as a School and will share the honey that is produced with our historic Windover Heights neighbors as a way to further engage and build relationships.
Lastly, the culminating event of Community Engagement Week will be our #lovegrowshere Day on May 1. Students will spend time during the school day on May 1 creating lawn signs for front line workers such as healthcare personnel, grocery store employees, postal workers, law enforcement, delivery workers, and the countless others working on the front lines of this pandemic. We are thrilled to be able to build a school-wide event that not only creates a way to engage our students but one that will have a direct impact on those essential workers who see the lawn signs.
Our Community Engagement Committee has developed some thoughtful questions as your student begins to think about what his or her sign will say as well as the meaning behind this activity:
● How do you hope your sign will impact others?
We hope our first Community Engagement Week continues the conversation both at School and at home about the meaning of community, empathy, and compassion. Our desire to be part of a community is stronger than ever and we are so fortunate to be a part of one here at Green Hedges that encourages avenues to foster relationships between people and organizations in Vienna.