“Community” is not just a word in the LCCS name, it is truly part of the lifeblood. Our 8th grade students are required to perform 20 hours of community service in order to gradate, but throughout every year, students in all grades participate in a wide variety of community services projects.
“Students at LCCS love these projects, they get so excited about them, which is what really gets everyone motivated,” says 5th Grade Teacher Emily Litman, who coordinates many of the efforts. “What we see is that community service does more than just help people and organizations in need. Students learn about the world around them, they learn that they can make a difference.”
Here are the highlights from the 2014-2015 school year
In the Fall, a school-wide Coat Drive brought dozens of jackets, hats, mittens, gloves, boots and other winter wear to the Urban League of Hudson County.
In November, students in 5th Grade and PreK classes worked together for a Thanksgiving Food Drive, collecting food and spreading cheer to 15 families served by an Urban League program for teen and young mothers.
Every year the school organizes a Penny Drive, alternating between a local charity and one from around the world. This year students collected more than $1,500 for The York Street Project, a Jersey City based organization that provides food and shelter, education, day care, and counseling for economically disadvantaged women and children.
"The York Street Project was completely humbled and surprised to learn that we were the recipients of the Learning Community Charter School annual Penny Drive," says York Street Project Executive Director Susanne Byrne. "The road these families travel are not easy, however, at York Street Project, the education, housing, life-skills training and career counseling we provide will lead them on a more stable path towards independence. I love the idea of kids in the community helping other kids who live in their community, and we thank you for believing in the work that we do, and hope that you will continue on the journey with us in breaking the cycle of poverty."
In December, students sang carols to residents at the Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
The Liberty Humane Society was also a beneficiary. In December, a group of students joined the Cantigas Choir to sing carols at the Grove Street PATH station, collecting $650 for the animal shelter. In March, students in 5th grade marched in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on behalf of the Liberty Humane Society, collecting about $100 in donations from parade-goers.
In February, a package of school and art supplies was delivered to a preschool center in Ecuador. The three LCCS preschool classes had collected the crayons, pencils and other items.
After the devastating earthquake in April in Nepal
that killed more than 8,000 people, LCCS 4th
grade students created a school store, selling pencils, erasers, and T-shirts to their peers. Students in Middle School teamed up with 5th
grade students at our sister school, TECCS, for a friendly Capture the Flag game. Both events raised more than $730 for Doctors Without Borders.
Community Service projects are also sometimes combined with curriculum. In the Spring, 5th grade students read the book A Long Walk to Water, a novel based on the true story of a Sudanese “Lost Boy,” displaced by civil war in that country in the 1980’s. Another former “Lost Boy,” Daniel Nyuk came to speak at the school to both students from 5th grade and our Middle School Model UN Club.
As part of the study on Sudan, students then created their own charity and awareness campaigns about the ongoing troubles in that country. Some held bake sales, or hosted lemonade stands, others planted Sudanese-native vegetation in community gardens or hosted dinners with Sudanese foods. About $600 was raised for a variety of charities including The Red Cross and Water For South Sudan.