CACS middle school students participated in a Service Learning Day on Friday, Nov. 16, learning more about San Francisco and participating in different ways of serving the community.

The 6th graders spent their day at the SF Food Bank. Students began their service with an orientation about hunger in San Francisco and how the food bank helps our community. Students put on hair nets, latex gloves and joyfully began their task at hand: putting rice into 1 lb bags, labelling them, and boxing them up. To pump up the energy, the Food Bank provided them with high energy music, with kids singing, dancing and working hard to process over 2000 lbs of rice! This project continues with the CACS Holiday Food Drive and a study of hunger in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, some of our 7th graders teamed up to volunteer for Golden Gate National Parks at Mountain Lake Park within the Presidio in San Francisco. Students helped preserve the native plants in the surrounding area. They observed different plant species in their natural habitat and learned about the history of the Mountain Lake Park site. Other 7th graders jumped on the 38 Geary bus to Glide Memorial, the only organization in San Francisco that serves three nutritious meals a day, 364 days a year to the city’s poor, homeless, and hungry. Students put on hairnets, plastic aprons and gloves and were separated into work groups for the Feed the Hungry program. Each student was assigned a role in the assembly line to greet patrons, serve food, and bus tables. Students served 675 meals within 2 hours of work. The students worked very hard and later reflected on their experience, discussing the importance of their work and sharing appreciations with one another.

The eighth grade class spent their Service Learning day learning more about Kimball Park. Their humanities class has worked with a project called Generation Citizen during the fall semester. This innovative program has helped the students to go through a process to narrow down issues of importance to them and find a cause for which they could take action. They have been working in two small groups, and both decided on Kimball Park as their focus. One of the issues that the students are concerned about is the cleanliness of the park and the fact that people leave dirty needles around, which can hurt kids and spread disease. On their Service Learning day, visitors from the Department of Public Health and the SF Recreation and Park Department discussed options for needle disposal and park development. All of this was to help students gather ideas about what they would like to change about Kimball Park and will lead into their work for the next service learning day. Through research and interviewing our guests, the students developed a broader understanding of the issues and will incorporate this learning into their plans going forward.

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