Community service is an important part of life at The Oaks School. Connecting with those in our community teaches civic awareness and responsibility, helping students become sensitive to organizational and cultural differences. Engaging students in hands-on activities with environmental organizations helps them become committed stewards of their natural world. Projects that involve the students in activism around the world help them understand their connection to a global community.
Many service projects are curriculum-based and connect their classroom experiences and academic exercises to a vital and living world, enriching the learning process and strengthening their understanding. For instance, third grade students who are studying the complex biosystems of native California flora and fauna often spend a day at Ballona Wetlands, tasting pickle weed, counting butterflies and birds, and pulling invasive species to encourage the health of the salt marsh. Also, after studying the effects of trade, religion and geography on systems of learning during the Middle Ages, fourth grade students have read parts of Three Cups of Tea and then raised money to send to the Central Asia Institute to help build a school in remote Pakistan.
Some projects reflect our own geographic location. Being a school that is located both in a church facility and in the middle of a socio-economically diverse neighborhood, the students often witness the realities of hardship and poverty. The Student Council works through the year to bring in food donations that are then given to a church committee which helps feed the homeless and jobless.
Service is not only an activity of the students but of the entire school community. Modeling service is an important commitment that many of our families make, and that is reflected in the numerous service events that are created throughout the year by our parent committees. The Parent Association Community Service Committee works to assist and facilitate projects associated with specific classes and, each year, organizes three all-school community service activities:
The September School Supply Collection:
Beyond Shelter is an organization that assists homeless families with permanent housing. The CSC organizes a two-week backpack and back-to-school supply drive for them.
The Winter Holiday Drive:
This is a three-week toy and toiletry drive in conjunction with Temple Israel Hollywood and the Hollywood United Methodist Church. Approximately 1,500 adults and children benefit from this program each year. Besides organizing the drive the CSC provides blank gift cards to the classrooms for our children to decorate, and many members assist with the distribution and holiday meal that accompanies it.
This is a citywide event designed to offer people of diverse backgrounds and religions the opportunity to donate their time and talents for projects that benefit those in need. Each year, our Community Service Committee chooses a project to sponsor and organizes the human power to participate.