Teaching our students how they can truly make a difference in their community and the world is integral to the JDS curriculum. It is a thread that is woven from our early childhood classrooms through 8th grade.
While finding ways to make a difference in the world is often rooted in classroom units of study, the door is also open to student initiated projects and some presented by parents in our community. Such was the case with the students from Guatemala (pictured above) who received a delivery school supplies in August 2013 hand delivered by one of our 4th grade students who was born in Guatemala. Ari and his mom shared the opportunity with his JDS classmates and their parents who energetically collected 70 lbs. worth of wonderful supplies for the school in Santiago Atitlan.
Below is a sampling of other work our students do to make the world a better place.
Jewish Family Service Food Bank
For 18 years, JDS has hosted the eastside JFS Food Bank on our campus. As part of their curriculum, students work for JFS once a month packing and sorting grocery bags that are distributed to more than 100 households living in the Crossroads neighborhood. JFS says this component of their Food Bank program assists Jewish elderly singles and couples, mostly refugees.
JDS students have two school days during the year dedicated to learning about and performing mitzvot (good deeds/community service). Past community service day experiences have included working to remove invasive plants from area parks and watersheds, helping at King County's Greenhouse and Marra Farm, serving meals at Seattle's Union Gospel Mission and Operation Sack Lunch, volunteering at Hopelink at sorting food at area food banks. Mitzvah Day helps our students understand that being Jewish and acting Jewish go hand and hand.
Each spring, teams of 6th and 2nd graders are created to prepare for Mitzvah Day. The teams each work together to select and research a charity, create a presentation and tzedakah box then, on the day of the fair, deliver the presentation to their fellow preschool through 8th grade students who then select which mitzvot and related charitable organization will receive their tzedakah.
Kline Galland Home and The Summit
Each year, various JDS grades visit residents of the Kline Galland Home and The Summit where they perform, share handmade crafts or simply spend time with residents of the Jewish nursing home and retirement community.