At DCD, scholarship and citizenship are interdependent. Central to DCD’s mission is a commitment to “inspire students to become caring, ethical members of the larger world by emphasizing thoughtful citizenship and respect for self and others.” For more than a century, our school has been committed to building relationships with people and organizations beyond the borders of our campus, engaging in work that serves the larger community.
Students in every grade participate in some age-appropriate service work during the year, and in Middle School, students take the lead in developing and carrying out their own projects.
Through our service learning program and the daily examples set by our teachers, DCD students learn that small acts of kindness and caring can make a big difference to others.
Service Learning Coordinators
List of 2 members.
Assistant Athletic Director, Physical Education Teacher, Grade 6 History Teacher
Mrs. Colleen Hultgren
Grade 3 Teacher
Service Learning joins students, faculty, and parents together.
DCD’s Parent Association maintains a Community Outreach Committee made up of parent and faculty representatives who work together to coordinate, and execute both school-wide and class-specific projects.
DCD holds a special school-wide community service day in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Middle School students participate in five community service afternoons during the year and have the opportunity to exercise entrepreneurial skills, creativity, and leadership through initiating their own service experiences.
During the school year, DCD students across every grade level complete over 30 different service projects and drives to benefit the greater community.
DCD Kindergarteners decorated and stuffed birthday bags for children at the Walker School in Needham, which offers a residential program and services to children dealing with complex emotional, behavioral, and learning challenges. Many residential students arrive without any of their own belongings, and because funding is tight, birthday celebrations are often limited. A representative from the Walker School visited DCD to share an age-appropriate description of the program, so that Kindergartners could see how their small act of kindness would go a long way in making some other children very happy.
Both Pre-K and Fourth Graders show their love of animals with their outreach efforts benefitting the Animal Rescue League. Pre-K students make chew toys, bake dog biscuits and stir up cat chow for their furry friends. Fourth Graders collect used towels and blankets to keep shelter animals warm. Annually, the entire school participates in a “Fun Run” to raise money and awareness for pets awaiting adoption.
Each spring, our third-grade students hold a car wash with the proceeds benefitting the Dedham Country Day School Horizons program, that seeks to close the achievement gap between low-income elementary school children and their more advantaged peers.
First Graders create coloring books for children undergoing treatment at The Children’s’ Pediatric Ward at Mass General Hospital. The coloring books are meant to make the time spent at the hospital more enjoyable for children facing cancer treatment, providing comfort, support, and friendship from one child to another.
Each fall, Middle School students organize and promote a two-week clothing drive to collect gently used and new boys and girls winter coats and jackets for Cradles to Crayons in Boston. The students create posters, make announcements at school gatherings, and post notices in the Weekly e-News to promote the drive. The coats are then dropped off at the Giving Factory, Cradles to Crayons warehouse, where clothing is organized and given out to children in need.
Third Graders make gift bags for children at the Italian Home, a local residential and day treatment facility for children and families in crisis. Students donate their own gently used books along with colorful bookmarks they make using tissue paper, contact paper, and ribbons. Each child’s family also purchases craft items and school supplies to be included in the gift bags, which the children then put together.
Our Middle School students travel to nearby Hale Reservation, a 1200-acre natural resource habitat whose mission is to provide a variety of educational and recreational programs. The kids help in trimming back the trails as well as landscaping and maintenance of certain public use areas.
Third-graders participate in this education-based fundraiser, completing a math curriculum supplement after obtaining sponsorships from family and friends. The funds raised by students benefit St. Jude, where doctors and scientists work to eradicate childhood cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases.
Students painted nameplates for clients served by the Charles River Center, which supports adults with developmental disabilities. Students were able to meet and talk with many of the clients, to listen to their stories and find out what their lives were like. One student commented, “meeting with them taught us that it doesn’t matter if you are different or have a disability. One of the clients that met with us shared a poem that she had written. It was an exciting and unique experience to be able to support CRC and meet the people we were helping.”
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria, a leading cause of death among children in Africa.
DCD Middle School students learned about the dangers of malaria, and what can be done to prevent it. They annually host a Shoot-a-Thon for Lower School students, from which they raise money to buy mosquito netting to help prevent the spread of malaria.
Students planned, advertised, and supported the implementation of an optional lunch fast for students in Grades 5 through 8. The students spent the morning of the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day in January learning about hunger awareness and other issues addressed by OXFAM. They also designed posters and encouraged their peers to fast on a day in March. Last year more than a hundred members of the DCD community fasted to raise money for OXFAM by donating the cost of their lunch or $3.50.
Second Graders visit senior citizens at a local senior center, painting, playing Bingo, and having pizza together. Working in small groups, seniors help the children design and paint rocks that are later turned into scary monsters. Later, the whole group plays Bingo. This tradition is always an unforgettable one for both children and seniors alike.
For the past 16 years, DCD has partnered with the Dedham Youth Commission to provide Thanksgiving “baskets” containing all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This year, DCD contributed baskets for 20 families. The project is organized by the Middle School Student Outreach Committee and involves the entire DCD community—students, parents, and teachers. The Dedham Youth Commission, with the assistance of the Dedham Food Pantry, helps to locate families in need.
Many students, faculty, and parents participate in the annual 20-mile Walk for Hunger that is held each May in Boston. This past year, twenty-seven students, six parents, and two faculty members participated in the walk, raising thousands for Project Bread.
The Children's Hospital League's mission is to raise funds to provide hope, miracles and health to children and their families by funding important patient services, medical research, and capital improvements for the hospital.
In 2015, DCD’s 2nd Graders conducted a walk-a-thon in the Rand Gym to raise money and awareness for the Boston Children’s Hospital League. Their hard work (asking for pledges and walking!) paid off. In total, $2,500+ was raised for the cause.
DCD students participated in Wounded Warriors: Operation Gratitude, a national project to thank soldiers returning home to recover from injuries suffered in combat. Students wrote and decorated 29 letters thanking them for protecting our country and letting them know someone was thinking of them during this time.
A twenty-five year tradition, each year Fifth Graders organize and execute a school-wide Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign, promoting the program, encouraging other students to participate by collecting money on Halloween, and distributing the collection boxes. Once all the collection boxes are turned in, Fifth Graders count all the donations.
Community Service News
Spreading Kindness and Appreciation Brings Joy to Others
DCD’s annual service-learning day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fell on the civil-rights activist’s actual birthday this year. His inspirational quotes decorated the school’s hallways as students engaged in various projects by grade meant to serve others.
Third-graders made posters for the community to show their appreciation, including one for all the hard work of the employees of the Dedham Post Office.
DCD Honors Martin Luther King Jr. with Service Morning
Last Friday’s annual morning of service at DCD in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. showed there are no age requirements for kindness and compassion. Students spent the morning engaging in age-appropriate service activities, from the youngest in pre-K to eighth-graders who are getting ready to move on to high school, finding meaningful ways to serve others as the focus of the morning.
During Friday’s middle school service-learning afternoon, DCD’s Green Club met with Adam Jankauskasfrom City Compost to learn about the process and benefits of composting. Currently, City Compost is working with over 2000 homes and businesses in Massachusetts to collect food scraps and process this material into finished compost.
Patriots Player stops by Special Olympics practice at DCD
Patriots player Obi Melifonwu stopped by DCD for the final Special Olympics flag football practice of the fall last Monday, a thrill for the five seventh-grade boys who have been playing with the team all fall as volunteers! Neil Burmeister, Willy Connors, LJ Gage, Owen Hotra, and Gabe Salfity made it to all the practices, which took place on Mondays this fall from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. on the front field at DCD.
DCD Middle School Student Evan Michaeli Takes a Stand Against Plastic Bags
DCD seventh grader Evan Michaeli is a testament to the impact that young people can have on the issues affecting our planet. Evan founded the school's student-run Green Club along with his brother Drew, a sixth grader, and eighth grader Matthew Volfson. An ardent environmentalist, Evan recently presented his views about the environmental risks of plastic bags to the Town of Dedham's Sustainability Committee.
DCD’s Cradles to Crayons Event Helps 955 Boston Area Kids!
Teaming up with Cradles to Crayons on Saturday morning February 2, DCD families came together to sort and organize all of the donations the school had received from the community for its month-long clothing and toy drive to benefit children in the Boston area. DCD has had a long-standing relationship with the Cradles to Crayons organization with our middle school students often spending their volunteer afternoons working at their facility in Brighton.
Stories of Service Shared in Honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
On Friday, January 17, the DCD community came together for its annual day of service in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. The day began with two presentations from adults who talked about their experiences and the need they felt to serve others.
Kids Helping Kids: Grade 2 Students Hold a Walkathon for the Global Center for Glycogen Storage Disease
For their MLK Jr. Community Service Day project, second grade students held a Walkathon to raise money for the Global Center for Glycogen Storage Disease. This charity is particularly meaningful to DCD since Maren Ouellette, first grader and sister of Avery in the second grade, was diagnosed with this disease when she was 10 months old. The center does critical research and provides treatment to those with GSD.
Eighth grader Kathryn Cloonan gains valuable lessons in philanthropy
At a recent assembly, eighth grader Kathryn Cloonan gave a presentation on her experience last summer workting at Youth In Philanthropy, an organization for teenagers who are looking to make a positive impact on their communities.
Every student from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8 contributed items to DCD's annual Thanksgiving Basket Food Drive, together filling 24 large bins containing all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, including pies and homemade bread. DCD donated the food baskets to the Dedham Youth Commission (DYC) for distribution to local families.
The rescheduled Nothing but Nets shoot-a-thon on Friday, May 13, was successful in raising $870, the highest yearly total raised to date, to send mosquito netting to Africa to help stop the transmission of malaria. Over the past nine years, the shoot-a-thon has raised a total of $6,000.
Students pledge to take action in honor of Earth Day
DCD students celebrated Earth Day this year by writing out their Earth Day pledges on paper leaves, which were then attached to paper trees displayed around the school on Earth Day. Each student pledged to protect the earth by doing one small thing to help.
Every student from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8 contributed items to Dedham Country Day School’s annual Thanksgiving Basket Food Drive. Together they filled 21 large bins containing all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, including pies and homemade bread. DCD donated the food baskets to the Dedham Youth Commission (DYC) for distribution to local families.
During the week of November 2-6, DCD students and their families collected Halloween candy to help Operation: American Soldier in a partnership with Chestnut Dental, located in Needham and Franklin, Massachusetts. Middle school volunteers sorted the collected candy by type (hard candy, sticky candy, chocolates) and then prepared these treats to be mailed to our soldiers overseas along with toothbrushes and toothpaste from Chestnut Dental. More than ten 10-lb bags of candy were collected and donated.
As a community service project, a group of Middle School students organized a school-wide Winter Coat Drive, collecting winter clothing for children in need. On Friday, November 13th,students representing all grades at DCD and their parents, delivered donations made by our school community to the Cradles to Crayons' Giving Factory in Boston and stayed for an afternoon of volunteering.