The Service Learning and Leadership Program
The Service Learning and Leadership Program at The Mary Louis Academy ensures that our students have an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of the people in our global, local, and school communities. As freshmen, students apply for acceptance into this Service Program, and when accepted spend three years learning about and educating others on issues of Social Justice, Health, and the Environment in order to be able to confront challenges, and create solutions that will effect positive change.
The energy and enthusiasm with which our students approach each challenge, and envision each new initiative, gives witness to the empowering virtues of making a difference. Cultivating vegetables in the new organic garden, weekly service at a local soup kitchen, reforestation and tree care efforts, hosting an annual Fair Trade Christmas Bazaar, encouraging the ethical use of social media through Delete Day, installing a water-bottle filling station, creating a student-run leadership program for younger students, and attending various educational and mission-based workshops are just some of the ways our students serve others.
As recipients of a grant from Million Trees NYC, the Service Learning and Leadership Program members learned how to care for city planted trees in our neighborhood; they were given the tools and resources to tend to twenty trees on the blocks immediately surrounding our campus. Students then cleaned up, aerated, and mulched tree beds, planted bulbs, and created signs indicating that these trees were under their care. Over thirty SLL students and faculty also participated in Million Trees NYC’s Fall Stewardship event at Alley Pond Park. This event ensured that the young trees would survive the winter and continue to benefit the residents of NYC.
The VOICE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM for 9th grade students that aims at helping each TMLA young woman to find her voice: to command respect for herself and others, champion justice, and become a leader. This program is part of the educational efforts of the Hance Family Foundation.
The Delete Day initiative is designed to educate students about ethical and responsible use of the Internet. Students go on their social networking accounts – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. – and remove statuses and pictures that are not representative of who they are as individuals. TMLA sponsored a Delete Day training seminar so that elementary school students can use this program in their own schools.
TMLA Service Learning and Leadership homerooms also participate as student delegates in the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations.
A TMLA graduate speaks about being a member of the Service Learning and Leadership program:
“My experiences with the Service Homeroom Program have been rewarding and vital to my empowerment and maturity as a young woman of dignity. My participation has enabled me to develop leadership skills, work cohesively in group settings, and address large audiences. I have been exposed to situations and people that I would not have otherwise known; for that I am grateful. I will carry with me for the rest of my life the knowledge I have attained and the values I have formed as a result of the program. In contemporary society, it is easy to lose one’s voice in the shuffle, especially as a young woman; however, the Service Homeroom Program and The Mary Louis Academy have taught me how powerful my voice is and that I can speak out against injustices and be heard. I knew when selecting The Mary Louis Academy that I would receive an excellent education and feel at home in the school community, but I did not realize how valuable, beneficial, and influential TMLA’s mission and Service Homeroom Program would be.” Mary Casey ’14