ABC Day: teaming up with elementary schools for a day of service

February 25, 2015

On Saturday, April 10, 1999, members of the Lesley College community joined forces with residents of the city of Cambridge in a unique endeavor which reflected the College’s conviction “”that people matter”” and that we must nurture the “”power of individuals working collaboratively to bring about constructive change.”” (Lesley College Mission Statement). Building on a long history of Community Service Learning and Professional Development School Partnerships between Lesley College and the Cambridge Public Schools, this year under the auspices of President Margaret A. McKenna these communities collaborated on a series of projects designed to meet the individual needs of four elementary schools. Students, teachers, parents, and administrators from the Agassiz, Haggerty, Harrington, and Peabody Schools joined with students, faculty, and staff from Lesley College for a day of service that culminated in a shared meal as well as a special reflective session for all participants.

In the initial planning stages for this day, the schools were asked to engage in a needs assessment that involved school staff, parents, and students to determine a project which met a specific need in the community and, at the same time, engaged students as well as enhanced their learning. These projects were identified as a result of School-Site-Council discussions and joint sessions between Lesley College and Cambridge school representatives, including the student government organizations. The Lesley College Council for Community Service worked with members of the President’s Office to facilitate planning of ABC Day over the course of six months.

The specific project of the Agassiz School showcases Lesley College undergraduate students as active, community citizens. This particular Cambridge community project was concerned with homelessness. Over the course of a month, students throughout the school collected cans from neighborhood residents for a citywide food pantry. On April 10th, after the cans had been collected, this group of students also made lunches for the homeless in Harvard Square. Lesley College students who are members of the undergraduate service club walked with the Agassiz students into the Square, helping with the distribution of food, while sharing in a discussion with the students about the issue of homelessness in our communities.

As Lesley College celebrates its 90th anniversary, the ABC Day is a good example of a campus-wide initiative that clearly indicates the long-standing commitment of the college to the development of active, educated citizens among its students and to the cultivation of collaboration between the College and its surrounding communities.

Lesley College - MA, Massachusetts
President: Margaret A. McKenna
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