ST. LOUISE SCHOOL SERVICE PROGRAM
Being aware that Baptism by itself does not make a Christian - living and acting in conformity with the Gospel is necessary – St. Louise Parish School tries to create within its walls a climate in which our students’ faith will gradually mature and enable them to assume the responsibility placed on them by Baptism.
Through our service program at St. Louise Parish School, our graduates who began at St. Louise in pre-kindergarten will have had ten consecutive years of concentrated focus into the numerous avenues through which spiritual and material goodness can be shared in faith-filled, selfless stewardship. Students learn that needs are both in their own community as well as in underprivileged countries. In addition, placing a high value on service fosters an even deeper meaning for our students. We believe the most meaningful gift of service is the personal awareness that our students gain. St. Louise school children truly become aware and learn the lifelong blessings of being stewards of those less fortunate than themselves.
St. Louise Parish School has twelve Student Learning Expectations that are focused on throughout the year. Our Service Projects encompass six of the twelve Student Learning Expectations which are as follows: 1.1: Seeks to develop a personal relationship with God as demonstrated by living out Gospel values and participating in liturgies, sacraments, and daily prayer. 1.3: Actively participates in the service for which God calls us. 3.3: Sets goals and implements steps to achieve them. 4.1: Honors the gifts of others and values the dignity of each person. 4.2: Shows awareness of local, national, and international events. 4.3: Accepts leadership roles and collaborates with others.
Year-Long Classroom Service Projects
Pre-K is participating in two school-wide service projects: November’s Thanksgiving Basket distribution and December’s toy drive. In connection with their study of trees and plants, the four year-olds will also have opportunities to tend plants and gardens on school and parish grounds.
Kindergarten is supporting the Bellevue Fire Department as their year-long service project. Kindergarteners will do chores around the house to earn money. They use this money each spring to buy teddy bears for the Fire Department’s “Teddy Bear Patrol.” The bears are used by the firefighters to comfort children in times of trauma. Also, students are collecting items for the Eastside Baby Corner in Issaquah. From socks to diapers, they help children ages newborn to twelve years old receive things that they need.
The 1st grade classes are providing service to the St. Vincent De Paul Society during the fall and winter by collecting coats to clothe those who need warmth during the cold months. In the spring, they have a book drive for The New Bethlehem Project, a joint project of St. Louise Parish School and other churches on the Eastside to provide a day center for homeless families.
The 2nd grade is assisting the Humane Society. Along with learning how to be good pet owners, the students are collecting money, pet food, towels, blankets, collars, leashes, and pet toys for the Pet Food Bank at the Humane Society. The students also receive a visit from the Max Mobile; a bus that houses animals that are up for adoption. The Max Mobile provides an informative tour and collects the much-needed donations.
The third grade students are participating in service for the St. Louise Parish community by preparing the church pews for the weekend Masses. Each week, the students organize the Missals, Breaking Bread books and replace envelopes/pew art so the parishioners can celebrate Mass together in a clean, welcoming environment. This service opportunity provides the students with a sense of belonging to the St. Louise community as a whole.
The 4th grade classes are showing their civic responsibility through support of Operation Gratitude. Throughout the year, the students write letters and send care packages to military members.
The 5th grade classrooms sponsor two godchildren from Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, an organization which serves orphaned children in several countries. Each month students donate funds for the children’s sponsorship. They also will make cards for their “God Brother” and “God Sister” and keep them in their daily prayers. Once a year, a speaker comes to introduce students to the orphanage and show them what daily life is like for their pequeños (little ones).
Our 6th grade classrooms are devoting their year to Hopelink’s foodbank. Hopelink serves regular visitors, but it is almost impossible to plan for all the drop-in families who are in need of assistance. The students also annually visit the Hopelink near our school on Main Street to drop off their first month’s donations, learn how the food bank works, and hear about Hopelink’s various services. In the spring, the 6th graders participate in the “End of Summer Hunger Drive,” raising funds for students who receive free or reduced-fee lunches during the school year.
The 7th Grade service project occurs during Lent and as such is intricately woven into the Lenten message of almsgiving. Starting with pre-preparation, all/school activities prior to Ash Wednesday, the 7th grade class will help with the school soup lunch. During Lent, the 7th grade will co-ordinate and run "Operation Rice Bowl" for the entire school by teaching homerooms about the drive to raise funds for the hungry in our community and worldwide overseeing the final collection. The theme will culminate in a Hunger Banquet, among other activities, for the 7th graders during Holy Week.
The 8th Graders' class service theme is based on the corporal work of mercy "Feed the Hungry". Our 8th graders annually assist with the local community meal program at Salvation Army. The students and their families prepare a meal each month, and then go to the Crossroads location to serve dinner to the less fortunate in our area. Additional food and supplies are donated to help support families in need. In addition to the meal program, 8th graders help raise awareness about the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Kids’ Club Service Projects
Our before and after school care program, Kids’ Club, has three service projects of their own. The fifty students in this program make and deliver blankets to the local chapter of Project Linus, a non-profit organization dedicated to “Providing Security through Blankets” for ill or traumatized children and teens. Kids’ Club children also collect and deliver toiletry items to the Crossroads Salvation Army. Kids’ Club has spiritually adopted a girl from the Philippines named Mary Lipio. The students write letters to Mary and pray for her.
Annual School-Wide Service Projects
In addition to the year-long service projects unique to each grade level, the entire school works together on two annual projects:
- Our November Thanksgiving Basket collection teaches the importance of stewardship and giving to others. With the leadership of our 6th graders, our entire student body creates about two dozen complete, traditional Thanksgiving meal baskets. We are partnering with the Parish and St. Vincent de Paul to deliver the baskets to needy families in our community.
- Throughout February and March, each homeroom teacher promotes "Operation Rice Bowl," teaching the importance of fasting and almsgiving during the Lenten season, and having students donate to Catholic Relief Services, helping the less fortunate in our community and worldwide. This 40-day season of giving begins on Ash Wednesday with a schoolwide “Soup Lunch,” when all the students and staff give up their usual lunch that first day of Lent for a simple cup of soup, and the money they would have spent on an ample meal is donated to Operation Rice Bowl. (See: http://www.crsricebowl.org/)