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.
JFS Eastside Food Bank
For 18 years, JDS has hosted the JFS Eastside Food Bank on our campus. 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.
JFS Community-Wide Food Drive
Each fall leading up to Yom Kippur, Jewish Family Service organizes a community-wide food drive for Seattle's Polack Food Bank. JDS participates in this program annually as well as the food sort following food collection.
JDS students participate in multiple mitzvah projects during the year, including full days dedicated to learning about and performing mitzvot (good deeds/community service). Past community service 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, visiting with seniors at The Summit at First Hill and Kline Galland Home, and sorting food at area food banks. Mitzvah projects help our students understand that being Jewish and acting Jewish go hand and hand. Inquiry Units often culminate in student driven Taking Action mitzvah projects.