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Outreach

Water conservation project

Outreach projects at St. Mark’s Episcopal School encourage students to give of their time, talents and treasures. Grade-level outreach projects are organized by each grade’s teachers. All grade-level projects are either hands-on community service, or drives in which students donate items for a charity. We encourage our students to pursue opportunities that serve the community of Houston, Texas.

We believe equipping students with the tools they need to be successful in life extends far beyond the classroom, and we recognize the importance of imparting to each student a desire to positively contribute to our community. As we prepare our students for life after St. Mark’s, we hope that they will illustrate a global awareness, responsible citizenship, gratitude, empathy, and service to others.

Students engage in a variety of outreach projects throughout the year, including projects organized by grade-level, student council, National Junior Honor Society, or individual students.

Grade Level Outreach Projects

Preschool 2s - Bird Feeders on Campus

The Preschool 2s classes create bird feeders for the birds on campus. Spreading peanut butter and honey on a bagel, the students then dip their feeders into birdseed and each take a turn hanging the bird feeders on several of the trees on campus. Even St. Mark’s youngest students are taught Christian values and learn the importance of giving to all of God’s creatures, big and small.

Preschool 3s - Water Conservation for Living Water Internatinoal

Students in Preschool 3s complete a water conservation project. The project, held annually in April, begins with an explanation of the value of clean water. Our Preschool 3s learn the importance of having access to clean water, and also discover how difficult transporting water can be. Each student carries a gallon of water from the classroom to the prayer labyrinth, where they empty their bottles into a tub. The teacher explains that even though 18 gallons of water seemed like a lot and was a heavy load, it is not enough to complete the daily tasks of a household. After this hands-on activity, students take home a small water jar and are asked to put spare change in the jar each time they use water at night in their homes. The spare change is sent to Living Water International, a non-profit organization devoted to development projects in East Africa, to help with maintaining a well located next to a school in Uganda. Students see videos and photos of the children who are directly benefiting from the well that they are supporting.

Pre-K - Toy Drive for Jingle Bell Express

The Pre-K families (along with the St. Mark’s community at large) gather new books and toys for young children and teenagers to be distributed at the CCSC during the Christmas holidays at a local Houston area church. Pre-K classes decorated a big green box by painting reindeer made out of hand prints on the box.

Kindergarten - Art Show Benefitting Texas Children's Hospital

Kindergarten students donate artwork to Texas Children’s Hospital that comes from their year-long study of famous artists. Each child works with the teacher to select one special piece to donate for display in the Texas Children’s Hospital system.

1st Grade -Valentine's Cards for The Gardens at Bellaire Nursing Home

Students in 1st grade create holiday cards throughout the year for residents at The Gardens at Bellaire, a senior living community that provides assisted living for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia and those who require skilled nursing assistance. After making cards for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day, the 1st grade classes talk about how these cards brighten up the resident’s day.

2nd Grade - Care Kits for Texas Children's Families

In 2nd grade, students create care kits for families who have loved ones receiving treatment at Texas Children’s Hospital. Each care kit contains shampoo, conditioner, soap, a razor, a comb, deodorant, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a small toy or game for the patient. Discussing who we make the kits for and why helps our 2nd grade students relate to the need. The students are able to share their experiences of being in the hospital, or being sick and going to the doctor and understand that sometimes these families are in need of support.

 

3rd Grade - Book Drive for Books Between Kids

Our 3rd grade students lead a school-wide book drive in November that supports Books Between Kids, a non-profit organization. In the weeks leading up to our Book Fair, students collect gently used books to share with children in Houston Independent School District (HISD) who might not have the opportunity to build a home library on their own.

4th Grade - Community Service

In 4th grade, students look inward for an opportunity to serve our own school community. Students maintain the school flags by raising them and lowering them on a daily basis, and they also create public service announcements for the school, which aim to increase positivity and reinforce appropriate behavior on campus. In addition, 4th grade students serve as the daily clean-up crew in the cafeteria. These rotating groups, sweep and remove wrappers from lunch items after the three lower school lunch periods.

5th Grade - Chemo Kits for Kids at MD Anderson

5th grade supports children who are currently undergoing chemotherapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  Students collect Fisher Price Medical Kits, fun band aids, and stickers to donate to the hospital, and create cards to share as well.

6th Grade - Kids' Meals

Students in 6th grade volunteer with Kids’ Meals several times during the school year, putting together sack lunches for preschool children throughout the Houston area. The sack lunches are then delivered by Kids’ Meals volunteers to the homes of children five and under who live in extreme poverty.

7th Grade - Sheltering Arms

Rotating by advisories, the 7th grade students take turns volunteering at the Sheltering Arms Senior Center.  This center provides care for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.  Each week, our students spend time speaking with the seniors, playing games, and performing.  Some of the performances included students playing the guitar, piano, and singing Christmas carols.

8th Grade - The Beacon

Each week, the 8th grade students serve at The Beacon, a center that provides services to the homeless. At The Beacon, Houston’s homeless have the opportunity to eat a meal, take a shower and get their laundry done.

By volunteering at The Beacon with their advisory groups, on a rotation, 8th graders are able to build the habit of outreach. For many students, the 8th grade outreach project is the culmination of their service experience at St. Mark’s. Students truly feel the impact of this ongoing project.