At Mackintosh, education isn’t just book learning – it’s also about taking action and making an impact in the community.
Last week, the Mack Littleton eighth grade class presented their community service capstone projects to the school community. The community project is the culmination of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, and is a required part of each student’s progress towards graduation. All MYP students in 5000 IB schools worldwide participate in these projects.
The MYP community project also embodies a key part of our mission as a school: to encourage our students to engage in global action. The eighth graders were first asked to choose a community that they wanted to learn more about and serve. After investigating this community, they wrote research papers, and then worked with a faculty mentor to plan their service projects. Although they had teacher guidance and support, their projects were independently designed and conducted.
Students drew upon their own skills, passions and interests to create unique capstone projects that ranged from environmental to educational to civic. The student projects included:
- Teaching at a Sunday School and summer camp
- Working on projects to support endangered manatees and sea turtles
- Tutoring at a public elementary school
- Creating weighted blankets for children with sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD
- Volunteering with a therapeutic riding program
- Working at a food bank
- Supporting at an LGTBQ+ safe house
To wrap up their community projects, the students presented their work to the larger community of Mackintosh students, faculty and parents. They reflected on their growth in areas such as communication, self-management and time management. Several students mentioned that having to make phone calls and reach out to community organizations was a challenging, yet valuable, part of their experience.
Students also discovered that “service” doesn’t mean drudgery. As one student reflected, “I was surprised that I had done something fun while in service because, previously, I had thought service was a chore to do. This service has changed my outlook on that.” Most students felt that service will be an ongoing part of their lives.