Service Learning Day: Past, Present, and Future


Ruth Kramer

By: Alex Chantilas ‘18, News Editor

In Deborah Floyd’s fifteen-year tenure at Country Day, a lot has changed when it comes to our school’s service learning policy. Originally, Service Learning Day consisted of individual advisories traveling to separate non-profits to volunteer. This created a problem of getting everyone to where they needed to go, as well as finding a different place for each advisory to serve. When she took it over, Ms. Floyd’s goal was to create lasting relationships with four nonprofits, while providing an afternoon activity that teaches students the importance of community service—and she did just that. Every year since, Ms. Floyd has arranged Service Learning Day; Freshman have formed the mulch path at Granny’s Garden, Sophomores have worked the land of Valley View, Juniors have mixed paint at Matthew 25: Ministries, and Seniors have served the Cincinnati Zoo.

This year, Country Day’s Upper School went to its usual nonprofits, but was joined in the afternoon by speaker Floyd Gomez, from Taos, New Mexico, who gave an especially illuminating speech about what it means to be an Indian and how mainstream culture has distorted their way of living. The presentation, for Ms. Floyd in particular, was very special, as it was coming from such a close friend she made on the service trip to Taos. While summing up the importance of his discourse, she said she loved “the way [Floyd] spoke so eloquently about his relationship with the universe. [It] was pretty powerful…because community service isn’t always, you know, just helping others, sometimes it’s educating yourself so that you can be more informed and be a better citizen of the world”.

Unfortunately, in years to come, Freshman will be unable to go Granny’s Garden because of the garden’s discontinuance due to lack of financing. On the bright-side, Ms. Floyd plans to, with the help of Ms. Phillips, pair with Childhood Food Solutions, to deliver bags of food to the poorest neighborhood in Cincinnati. This will be an exciting new addition to Service Learning day. She also plans possibly to include other staff on the organization of Service Learning Day, not only to have a separation of power, but also to get others’ ideas for coming service days.

So, how does Ms. Floyd want us to incorporate service learning into our lives? “Find your passion,” she says. Not only is this an important message when it comes to service learning, but in all parts of life. Ms. Floyd advised me that she hopes that everyone “find[s] the thing that upsets [them] that’s happening in the world and decides, ‘I won’t stand for that, I’m gonna do something about that’”. If everyone does this, then in the future there will be nothing to hate, and nothing to work against. That’s “the way [she] can sleep at night– to know that [she’s] selected some [issues], and [she’s] making an impact there, and hopefully everyone will pick one [issue that is important to them]”.