Holy Child Academy
Drexel Hill, PA

One of the 8th grade’s service partners is a non-profit organization called the Epiphany House. The Epiphany House was established to support foster/adoptive families in the local community. Before the pandemic, our students walked to the Epiphany House about once a month and assisted the staff with various tasks. With in-person visits not being an option this year, the students brainstormed different ways they could assist the Epiphany House. They arranged a Zoom meeting with the founder of the Epiphany House to learn how they could still support the organization. The founder communicated a need in the area of digital marketing. He asked if the students could arrange the Epiphany House’s photos into an informational video that reflects the story and spirit of their mission and work. With the help of the STEAM lab coordinator, the students worked together to create a video. They used different programs available in the STEAM lab, such as Sony Movie Studio Platinum, Acid Music Studio, and Pixie, to create the visual story, graphics, and background music. Through this process, students were challenged to investigate their service partner further by identifying their needs, evaluating existing actions, and organizing resources. They had to collaborate with their service partner to address a need.

In a similar way, the 4th grade had to adjust their service partnership with St. John’s Hospice, a Catholic Social Services shelter for men located in Center City Philadelphia. In the beginning of the year, students were still able to continue their service of preparing and donating casseroles for St. John’s Casserole Program, despite the pandemic. Unfortunately, when the St. John’s Hospice van for the Casserole program was in an accident, the program was halted. Our students had to think of a new way to stay connected with St. John’s. To help generate ideas, they met with the Director of Development at St. John’s Hospice via Zoom. With a desire to learn more about St. John’s Hospice and the men who visit the shelter and eat the casseroles, the students prepared a series of questions to bring to the meeting. They presented their questions to the director and learned more about the work that is being done to address homelessness in Philadelphia. During their conversation, they also discovered that St. John’s has a need for hygiene products. With the help of a HCA teacher’s connection to a local hygiene product warehouse, students collected hygiene products, wrote cards of support, and organized bags for the men. While the van’s accident was unfortunate, it challenged our students to approach and investigate their service partner in a new way.