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The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, students, faculty and staff spent much of the day actively engaged in a myriad of service learning activities.  ACDS’s robust service learning program spans the entire school year with all students participating in both one-time activities and year-long class projects. On this day, students either participated in a hands-on activity or learned about and prepared for a service project they will be leading later in the year.

Kindergartners and first graders sorted food donations for Blessings in a Backpack and packaged the first 60 bags of food.  They will continue to package 60 bags each month for children at Maury Elementary School.  Second and sixth graders listened to a presentation by the Alexandria Animal Welfare League and made over 200 cat and dog toys for the League.  Third graders began their work with KaBOOM!, hearing from a member of the organization and doing some brainstorming about play spaces.  Having recently installed the new ACDS Little Free Library and taking responsibility for maintaining it, fourth graders went on a walking tour of Little Free Libraries in our area and dropped off books in each one.  In each book, there is a link to an online book review created by one of the students.  Fifth graders prepared to lead ACDS’s participation in UNICEF’s KidPower later this year.  Seventh graders sorted and boxed 1,400 donated shoes for Art for Humanity, and our eighth graders delivered a donation of books to a preschool class at Cora Kelly Elementary School and stayed to play for awhile.

Students, faculty and staff went home at the end of the day tired, but fulfilled.  Seventh grader Kirsten Johnson said, “Doing service projects makes me happy that I can help other people.  I’m proud to be part of a school that allows me to do service.”

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