We want each student entering the outside community with the best possible attitude toward volunteering. A true volunteer spirit bridges gaps between people, and it is the relationships which develop between our students and our hosts which are the core of our program and can be anywhere from interesting to life-changing.
We want students to develop a sense of responsibility for choosing to volunteer: they learn to weigh their priorities and their commitments, a beneficial life skill which will help them even after they graduate from GFS. We are concerned about students’ social and spiritual development as well as their intellectual development. When students truly volunteer, they willingly develop an awareness of social issues, empathy for others, and a better sense of their role in the “Big Picture” of the world.
Ultimately the Community Involvement program is a spiritually based program. As a Friends School we strive to meet that of God in each person. The Community Involvement program exposes students to people whose backgrounds, abilities, or physiques differ from their own. Through discussion and shared time together, students experience the commonality of people and come to understand differences in context. Such an understanding cannot be rushed in an effort to fulfill a certain number of required hours or forced by matching students with organizations with whom they are unlikely to engage. These are the reasons why our program is primarily voluntary after grade 6.