Lake Forest Academy in Illinois has an ambitious goal: to turn all of its students into global citizens, students that are good representatives of their community in other communities.
One way the academy does this is by encouraging students to take part in service opportunities and requiring sophomores to volunteer two hours of service work each semester. This year’s service day will be the academy’s 20th year providing service opportunities and Sarah Collins’ 11th year running the show.
In her 11 years, Sarah, the academy’s director of service learning, says the program has evolved over time. Before, the academy offered a couple van runs to different food banks, and some other trips to help the community. Now, there are 18 van runs to all different kinds of places. From participating in habitat restorations to keeping veterans company at a veterans hospital, there is something for everyone to do.
Sarah said she’d like students to not only to participate in service day, but to also go on one of the many van runs the school offers to a food bank or a partnered school at least once a month.
“Our goal isn’t to have students have a one and done service trip one day of the year, but to condition the students of Lake Forest Academy to want to go on service trips on their own time, even after leaving the academy,” she said.
Modern and Classical Languages Chair Valarie Sorenson has been helping Sarah with planning the logistics and helps to think of new ways for the students to become involved.
“I would love to see some service element involved in every class we have here,” Valarie said. “We are, after all, trying to create global citizens.”
There are already runs to the Nuestro Center, where students with Spanish speaking backgrounds of all levels can help kids that attend the center. But Valerie also wants to allow the students to have a deeper relationship with each other, not one day out of the year, but once or twice a month. This would have a much deeper impact on the community.
Freshman Ramya Herman is an excellent example of the academy’s vision of what a global citizen should look like.
She participated in community service before attending Lake Forest Academy, continues to volunteer her time throughout the school year, and intends on giving back to the community after graduating. She wishes that there was a way for her to be more involved when she’s busy with sports, but overall says the academy “does a great job at giving all students an opportunity to be involved in the community.”
One thing these three members of Lake Forest Academy had in common was that they are all looking forward to seeing the new ways in which the academy can get involved in the community.
If you would like to volunteer in your community, ask your school if they have a partnership with any local organizations or nonprofits!