Thursday, 11 November 2021 15:02

SIS Announces New Community Service Program: SIS CARES

Photos provided. Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Independent School (SIS) is excited to share more information about their newest program for students in grades 5 through 8 – SIS CARES (Community and Real-world Experiences for Students). 

SIS CARES will provide students with more service-learning opportunities than ever before. Teaching students that taking care of others outside of the school community allows them to see that they have the ability to use “critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork” to make a difference on a larger scale. The goals of SIS CARES are for students to learn more about the Saratoga community, gain experience working with different organizations, learn about resources that are available to help people in different situations, and to create the skills needed to be an active citizen in their community.

In September, SIS invited representatives from five local service organizations to attend a Community Day. Representatives were from Franklin Community Center, Saratoga Bridges, The Children’s Museum at Saratoga, The Saratoga Senior Center, and SNACpack. Students spent time learning about each organization and chose where they would like to volunteer. 

On Oct. 28, students took their first of three trips to the organization for a Service Day. Projects ranged from organizing food donations, gardening and grounds work, putting together educational kits, interacting with consumers, and more. 

“We were thrilled to have such an energetic and creative group of students from Saratoga Independent School,” said Mary Beth McGarrahan, Development Director at Franklin Community Center. “They assisted our staff with the daily sorting and organizing of incoming donated goods, food, and products. During this task, they learned what items are most urgently needed and that “food pantry” doesn’t just provide food to our community members. I am so grateful to be a part of this program and to be able to offer the experience of volunteering at a community organization. It’s definitely one that these students will remember for years to come.” 

“My reaction to this service project was wow! Look at all this food! It was really surprising how much food was needed to feed these kids that aren’t as fortunate as others are,” said 7th grade student Chloe after her experience volunteering with SNACpack. “I hope that more people will get involved in a cause like this because I think it’s important for people to know and understand that not everyone can open their pantry and be able to grab a snack.”

After each volunteer session, students will have a chance to reflect on their experience in their digital journal, and at the end of the year the students will put together a final project to share their experiences with the rest of the school. The 8th graders will also be required to complete a capstone project to showcase their four years of volunteer experience.

SIS CARES is the newest addition to the wide range of inclusive curriculum for students in grades 5 through 8 at Saratoga Independent School. For more information, please visit www.siskids.org/student-life/community-service.cfm. 

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