Learning through service is a core value at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) and is embraced every day by the NCSSM community. However, this year, NCSSM was able to take that value a step further in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On January 18, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, NCSSM suspended all classes to allow time for cultural and service opportunities, embracing the King Center’s theme of “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not a Day Off.” More than 700 hours were volunteered by NCSSM students to the local community. Students, working closely with NCSSM staff and community members, provided service to seventeen different non-profit organizations. A sample of the organizations include: Urban Ministries of Durham, Durham Rescue Mission, Food Bank of Central & Eastern N.C., Duke Children’s Hospital, Hayti Heritage Center, One Durham Everybody Eats, George Watts Montessori Magnet, Ellerbe Trail Clean Up and the Kramden Institute. Students also participated in the Cards 4 Kids campaign, a Knit-a-Thon and a Fleece Blanket Making program for the Durham Police Department.
Though Martin Luther King, Jr. Day gave our students a unique chance to serve the community together, NCSSM has embraced the importance of learning through service since its inception. Every graduate has to complete at least 60 hours of service for a nonprofit agency during the summer months. Students are encouraged to identify areas in which they are passionate and want to learn more about. They are then asked to approach program coordinators to set up service opportunities. Students incorporate previous knowledge into the service experience and then take back knowledge to the classroom.
In addition to the summer service requirement, many clubs, individual students and the Service Learning Coordinator provide voluntary opportunities each month. One highlight was this year’s Fall Festival, where local Durham elementary schools brought K-3 students to campus for a community celebration. Additionally, individual students have organized book drives for Tanzania and Ugandan literacy programs, a shoe drive for Soles4Souls and a combined staff/student program that is organizing a world record attempt for the largest 24-hour food drive at a single location by a non-charitable organization.
For more information, please contact:
Service Learning Coordinator