Daily Point of Light # 2756 Aug 27, 2004

The Hockaday School and St. Mark’s School of Texas, under the umbrella of the Hockaday/St. Mark’s Community Service program work for the betterment of the Dallas/ Fort Worth community. Students from both schools commit countless man-hours to numerous outreach projects, including neighborhood improvement, ESL tutoring, disaster-relief services, fundraising and drives and many other types of service endeavors.

Hockaday and St. Mark’s open new horizons for their students by exposing them to the many wonders of the community involvement. Students must commit at least fifteen hours annually to the Community Service Program, but most choose to become much more involved, sometimes dedicating hundreds of hours.

The Community Service Program operates under the leadership of Director, Jeanie Laube and the two schools’ Community Service Committees that are comprised of a select few Upper School ( freshman to senior) students who have shown an extraordinary commitment to community service. These committee members function as supervisors to the student bodies during projects and also help with the documentation and organization processes. The Committees’ role involves more than mundane oversight and administration, however. All members of the committee are expected to not only commit three times the required fifteen- hour allotment of community service but to also serve as role models and leaders for both their peers and the younger students at the Middle and Lower Schools. For example, the Community Service Committees host several projects for seventh and eighth grade students, each lead by a committee representative and chaperoned by a faculty member of either Hockaday or St. Mark’s.

Though they work with more than 80 community organizations, many of their projects are ongoing and they participate in on a weekly basis. Some of these programs include tutoring children in the Dallas Independent School Districts (DISD) from Harry C. Withers Elementary, John J. Pershing Elementary and Tom C Gooch Elementary schools; helping to teach ESL at the Jubilee Center of Dallas; creating center pieces for the Salvation Army Carr P. Collins Social Service Center; and providing entertainment for the homeless men and women of Austin Street Shelter. They are also very involved with Genesis Women’s Shelter, the Salvation Army Angel Tree program, the North Texas Food Bank, the Dallas Arboretum, the Science Place and the Dallas/Fort Worth Zoo, and they send volunteer to help these organizations many times during the year.

The Hockaday and St. Mark’s Community Service Program works to instill in the students of both schools the quintessential value of good citizenship to seek to develop the habit of volunteer service. This awakens the children’s concern for those coping with hardship and encourages a sense of responsibility for the environment. Both schools believe that a meaningful and flexible program of mandatory community service can raise social awareness, broaden outlooks, build conscience and maturity and teach sound leadership values and skills.