The Y.A.L.E. School has a long tradition of community involvement and outreach, a practice that can help teach our students to become full-fledged citizens. While service learning is a year-round effort—in fact, each classroom provides at least two hours of service learning per marking period—it takes on special meaning during the holidays, when students work to help organizations such as Toys for Tots, the Food Bank of South Jersey, Philabundance, and others.
This year, the young adults in our Standard 9 concentration worked in conjunction with student services at Camden County College (CCC), collecting more than 50 coats to be distributed to different charities in South Jersey.
“It felt good to help those who need coats, especially in the wintertime,” said Zach Wiltshire, a Standard 9 student.
For the eighth straight year, students at The Y.A.L.E. School’s Cherry Hill campus collected food to benefit the Food Bank of South Jersey—this year, amassing more than 551 pounds of food. “We chose the Food Bank of South Jersey because it benefits a lot of our kids,” said organizer Sue Angelucci, a teaching assistant in Ms. Anna Bouvier’s classroom.
Standard 9 students got involved too, hosting a pretzel sale that raised money to buy groceries for the food bank. The lesson cut across the curriculum when students boosted their buying power through “extreme couponing”—cutting out coupons to assist them in their grocery shopping.
A Year-Round Effort
Service learning is part of each student’s IEP, and does not end when the winter holidays are over. In the past, Y.A.L.E. students have picked up trash at Palmyra Cove Nature Park; traveled to the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden with packets of place settings and canned food; raised money for Father Chuck’s Challenge, a Catholic-based charity that builds weatherproof homes for Nicaraguans; made cards and care packages for chemotherapy patients at the University of Pennsylvania’s cancer center; raised money for the American Cancer Society, Alex’s Lemonade Stand and The American Red Cross earthquake relief effort in Japan; supported TerraCycle, a recycling company that gives money from recycled items to charity; and collected candy wrappers and other items, also to raise money.