By Kristen Haferbecker, All-School Community Engagement Coordinator
Starting in January '23, the Offices of Chaplaincy, Equity and Inclusion, and Community Engagement invited the OES community into a Season of Action, encouraging everyone to step into self-education, connection, and volunteerism as a reflection of the legacy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and our commitment to justice.
Over the past few months at OES, individuals, families, classes, and divisions have taken up this call to action in a variety of ways. Here are a few action examples from this Season of Action:
Fifteen OES community members spent an afternoon at the Neighborhood House food pantry. Volunteers packed pasta into family-sized servings as part of a larger delivery to members of the Afghan Support Network. Ten OESians spent an evening with Western Farm Workers Association. They measured masa balls and pressed them into corn husks (hojas) alongside members of WFWA, who shared their expertise on how to wrap tamales. The group made 500 tamales in three hours! On Saturday, January 28 and Saturday, March 10, a total of 19 members of the OES community (consisting of six Middle School families) visited Project Lemonade to help sort the OES Season of Light sock donation and volunteered their time to serve this amazing organization. Our students and families helped to process the 687 pairs of socks donated by the Middle School that will directly benefit almost 140 foster youth. Families also helped process new shoes, sorted clothing, and helped prepare for Project Lemonade’s superhero day in April. Everyone also got a tour of the Project Lemonade store, learned about the challenges foster youth can face, and discovered what Project Lemonade does to address those challenges.
The Season of Action includes our second round of Doorstep Donations. Over the course of six weeks, families donated 54 bags full of food, which represents over 1,000 meals to our community! Upper School ceramics students made and donated over 100 hand-thrown ceramic bowls to be included in the SW Hope Community Food Drive Empty Bowls fundraiser. OES’s participation in SW Hope continues as we host the SW Hope 5K Run/Walk and Kids’ Fun Run at OES on April 15. You can still sign up here to join in—and make sure to check the OES team on your form!
Seventh grade advisories have been taking weekly action in the Fariss Community Garden, waking it up in preparation for spring planting. One of the long-term goals of this garden space is to grow produce for Neighborhood House as part of our Doorstep Donations program.
Last Friday, Lower School classrooms met up with their buddy classes for a Buddy Action (un)Gathering. Classes pulled ivy, picked up trash, or made banners or cards of thanks for our dining hall and maintenance staff.
All through the Season of Action we saw hands-on action for our community. Thank you for the ways you took action in this season and beyond!