From its founding in 1970, Tandem students and faculty have participated in community service.
John Howard, one of the founders of Tandem, describes making toys for the children at the Salvation Army shelter as one of the first Tandem service projects.
When Tandem became a Friends school in 1995, that original spirit of service was re-affirmed and encouraged by the Quaker testimony of service as a value in life. Service at Tandem has never been reduced to a certain number of hours or to a particular graduation requirement. It is part of life in and outside the classroom. Service finds many expressions.
Tandem's director of community service, Nura Yingling, can be reached any time for questions and discussion of the community service program.
Education in Service has always been an important part of the Tandem Friends School program. Throughout their years at Tandem, students explore the many ways to help their community be a better place. Their concerns extend from the local to the global.
In the Upper School there are three full school days set aside for students and faculty to participate together in service. Each day ends with time for discussion and silent reflection on the experience. 8th graders join in on the final service day of the year - an introduction to their Upper School service experience.
In Middle and Upper School, service learning is an integral part of the Tandem curriculum. Based on classroom learning, students and teachers turn lessons from class into action in the community. Grasses were planted in the James River to improve water quality. French was taken to a public school's after-school program. A lesson on the immune system translated into health kits for AIDS orphans in Africa. Apples were picked, pies were baked, and money was used to feed hungry people at a shelter. Music and drama were taken to the elderly. Cookies and jewelry were sold for funds to aid victims of a tsunami.
A student panel works with Habitat for Humanity's youth program. Tandem Friends students share local and global concerns with one another, then work together to find ways to get involved.
Several grades also participate in life-altering “Service Trips.” These two to four-day events combine community-building time as a class, subject area education, and actual service in the larger community.
7th and 8th graders, on separate trips by grade, travel by train for two nights to Washington, DC, sharing simple accomodations at a local church where they cook their meals together. They enjoy a full day of hands-on history and humanities that relates to their current studies at area museums and historic sites. Under the guidance of YSOP, a Quaker youth services organization that gives students experience in large city social agencies that serve the homeless and the poor, students perform a full day of service for DC-area organizations that serve the homeless and the elderly. On one of the evenings there, they cook and serve a dinner to a group of homeless people, some of whom share their stories of homelessness with the class.
10th graders travel by train for four days to New York City, sharing simple accomodations at a downtown Manhattan church. Under the guidance of YSOP, a Quaker youth services organization that gives students experience in large city social agencies that serve the homeless and the poor, students perform up to two full days of service for NYC-area organizations that serve the homeless. They work preparing food in the kitchens, serving meals in homeless shelters, working in clothing lending closets and more. On one of the evenings there, they cook and serve a dinner to a group of homeless people. The students tour the United Nations one day, visit Ground Zero, and spend a meaningful morning learning about Human Rights Watch.
Contact David Slezak for information on service learning trips.
Though not all service related, every other grade participates in grade trips/activities associated with academic and advisory goals:
5th graders this year took group-building and science study to new heights at Triple C Camp's Green Adventure Project when they 'whale-watched,' 'walked' in the tree tops, 'flew like squirrels,' and raced plankton in the 'ocean'! Other highlights from the annual fifth grade outdoor science trip included dissecting and sampling cephalopod molluscs (a.k.a. calamari), going on a night hike, playing 'Ga-Ga' (a type of dodge ball), and making s'mores around the campfire.
6th graders take a two-night trip to West Virginia to the Radio Astronomy site and observatory as the culmination of their study of the stars.
9th graders spend a day away from school performing class-building activities such as ropes course work.
11th graders travel for two days to Philadelphia to supplement their American history studies and to explore the roots of Quakerism in America.
12th graders spend a full day in Washington, DC to supplement their Government studies.
Emphasis Week is a Tandem tradition in which regular school stops for a week and teachers and students spend the entire time in an alternative learning experience. A significant number of Emphasis offerings are service oriented. Students have built houses for Habitat, performed hurricane relief in Mississippi, worked on Native American reservations, hosted the PACEM homeless shelter in Charlottesville, at Tandem worked with the homeless in Washington and New York, cleared trails and upgraded local camp facilities, and more.
The following is a partial list of the organizations Tandem students were involved with last year:
Emergency Food Bank
Jefferson Area Board on Aging
International Rescue Committee
Nearby elementary schools
Meals On Wheels
Shelter for Help in Emergency
Habitat for Humanity
Homeless shelters in DC and NYC
Pennies for Peace
Books Behind Bars
Charlottesville Albemarle Riding Therapy
Relay for Life
International Red Cross
The Rivanna Trail Foundation
Additionally, under the guidance of the Student Senate Tandem students and faculty donate food for, assemble and deliver holiday food baskets for the needy that contain full holiday meals, from turkey and stuffing to dessert.
Scenes from upper school community service projects this year.
Images from Community Service Days throughout the year.