On October 26, Derryfield students in grades 9-11 dispersed within the greater Manchester community for a day of “giving back” through volunteer endeavors. This annual event, which was somewhat curtailed during the pandemic, has come back in full force. Service to others is part of the Derryfield mission:
“Recognizing that academic achievement without compassion and concern for others is meaningless, we are committed to purposeful involvement in the world outside our school in both the local and the global community.”
For freshmen, service learning is tied-in with an English unit on disability rights via the memoir, Being Heumann. The students spent the morning performing maintenance tasks at Camp Allen in Bedford. The mission of Camp Allen is “to provide opportunities for growth, friendship and fun to children and adults with developmental and/or physical challenges in an outdoor environment.”
The sophomore class took up hoes and rakes to work at the NH Food Bank production garden, located on an acre of land on River Road in Manchester. The garden was started in 2008 with the goal of “providing fresh produce for the Recipe for Success Culinary Job Training program, the Cooking Matters® program, and for distribution to NH Food Bank agencies.”
The juniors split up to work at a wide array of locations. Two groups organized donations at OutFITers thrift shop and the Brookside Thrift shop. Several teams packed food at Fueled by Kids and the NH Food Bank kitchen. Leaves were raked at the homes of two elderly residents, and the senior citizens at River Woods were treated to a game of miniature golf and socializing.
Louisa Burdette, the Director of Research and Opportunity, who coordinated all of the volunteer opportunities, remarked:
“It was so gratifying to see so many students smiling and laughing while serving the community. They went off on the various buses, and came back with stories of chopping onions until they “cried” at the Food Bank prep kitchen, of painting an entire building at Camp Allen, and of sorting clothes (and discovering secondhand treasures) at the OutFITters thrift store. I think there is so much value in working together on a shared project, especially when it benefits other people.”