The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Distinctions

Dedicated Service

Fay students develop a passion for service—on and off campus.

Dedicated Service is one of Fay’s core values, and it is part of the program at every grade level. Our students learn early on that it’s important to make a positive difference in the world, and this perspective is intrinsic to how we see ourselves as members of the global community.
Primary School
In the Primary School, students establish a foundation for dedicated service with a focus on empathy and building community. Students explore their roles as individuals, friends, and community members at Fay. They learn what a community is, how to treat others in a community, and how to serve their communities.
 
As Primary Schoolers learn that they can help to solve problems, and they use the design thinking process to design, build, test, and improve solutions to everyday problems. They also learn that it is cool to be kind, and they practice spreading kindness, from writing a thank you note to a veteran to publicly thanking our dining service team at lunch. In second grade, students take part in a day-long service trip at the nonprofit Cradles to Crayons, where they sort clothes and toys for disadvantaged children.
 
Lower School
Lower School students are actively involved in service projects both on and off-campus. They conduct a holiday gift drive to benefit the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and a food drive to benefit Veterans Inc. They volunteer at Community Harvest Project’s farm in Grafton, and they serve as recycling helpers around Fay’s campus. With each project, students learn about the issues connected to their service efforts and reflect on their impact.
 
Lower Schoolers are encouraged to take ownership of their service, and they have frequent opportunities to determine how they want to help solve problems. For a recent fall day of service on campus, for example, Lower Schoolers decided that they would help beautify campus by working with the facilities team to plant mums. The Lower School’s Service Club, which meets after school, provides additional opportunities for students to give back to the community.
 
Upper School
In Upper School, our students participate in service adventures that are life-changing opportunities to experience the world in a brand-new way.

While our service learning curriculum changes each year, previous examples of service learning projects have included the following:
 
- Seventh graders have spent a week each fall volunteering at local farms and other nonprofits.
- Eighth graders have traveled to New York City to serve at organic farms, schools, food banks, and soup kitchens through the Youth Service Opportunities Project.
- Ninth graders have traveled to the Dominican Republic, where they sepnt a week teaching English in a local school in collaboration with the nonprofit Outreach 360. 
 
Students typically have numerous opportunities to participate in addition service projects throughout the school year. Within Fay’s own community, students serve as helpers in the Primary and Lower School in art and language classes and at P.E and lunch. They volunteer at the Fay School Farmers Market, and they can join the after-school community service club or the Green Squad (Fay’s recycling team). They also volunteer at local homeless shelters, Habitat for Humanity, Veterans, Inc., the Southborough Senior Center, and at numerous local community events.
 
Dedicated service is woven throughout the Upper School curriculum. In Craig Ferraro’s Pre-Algebra class, for example, students become “Statistical Servants” by connecting their math studies to an aspect of poverty, such as veteran poverty, child hunger, or homelessness. Students explore, organize, and present data to describe the problem and then tie it to an actionable proposal that they present to a panel of judges.

Watch a student-made video about the ninth grade service trip.

Empathy, Purpose, and Connection

The three main tenets of Dedicated Service at Fay are empathy, purpose, and connection. Julie Porrazzo, the Director of the Educational Program, stresses that the value of service lies in the sentiment behind the experience. “It’s not about feeling bad for someone,” she notes. “It’s about creating a human connection to an issue and understanding that everyone needs a roof over their head, clothes, and food.”

Making a Positive Difference

Something has really stayed with me since our departure from New York. All the people we helped, all the friends we made, all the food and water we gave out, all the love will mean nothing unless we decide to make it mean something. I learned so much about the world around me and how important it is to give of myself.” -David, 8th grade


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