Connecting Students to Our Community
The Service Learning program at Cascades Academy promotes a lifestyle that recognizes the importance of helping out and giving back to our community. What can I do for my community? What can I do for the world? These are some of the questions students seek to answer through this program. At Cascades Academy, students donate an average of 30 hours of service throughout the school year.
Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy integrating meaningful community service with academic study and reflective practice, enriches learning, builds civic engagement, and strengthens community.
Serving our community allows students to create an authentic connection between what they learn in school and what occurs in their community, enhancing critical thinking and teamwork skills.
It allows students to make a personal connection with critical issues, creating significant opportunities for social, emotional, and cognitive learning and development. Students are engaged at all levels of service from the identification of need, to the planning and implementation of specific projects.
Students have worked with a myriad of organizations in Central Oregon and beyond, including: Shepherd's House, Saving Grace, Tumalo Community Cemetery, St. Charles Medical Center, UNICEF, Fox Hollow Senior Center, Deschutes River Trail, Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, Deschutes Land Trust, Humane Society of Central Oregon, Equine Outreach, Bethlehem Inn, Central Oregon Council on Aging, the Bend Community Center, Salvation Army, Deschutes River Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy.
Upper school students work on independent service learning projects of their choice and they also participate in group projects. Some projects are community-based, helping those in need, and others are more closely connected to the natural environment, planting trees and working in riparian zones. The Upper School travels for a week in the fall and spring trimester, and during these weeks the students are usually involved in a form of service. The goal for graduates is to consider service a part of their normal lives.