CAS takes a new approach to Service Day

Students of St. Paul Academy and Summit celebrated the third bi-annual Service Day, hosted by the Community Action and Service club. The school-wide event—in conjunction with its counterpart, Speaker Day—is meant to inspire change and make a difference inside and outside of the SPA community. Historically, Service Day has presented itself as a break from academics; a chance for all Upper School students to partake in community service outside of school. Two years ago, CAS arranged transportation to 17 different service locations. This year, Service Day wasn’t hands-on service, but instead, an assembly.

As a community, we believe in the power of service, and firmly hold that everyone in this auditorium has something to offer and something to learn.

— CAS Co-president Marlee Barron

In the assembly, CAS co-president Marlee Baron began with “as a community, we believe in the power of service, and firmly hold that everyone in this auditorium has something to offer and something to learn.”

CAS invited two representatives from the Minneapolis Foundation, Robyn Schein and Jenny Assef, to express this idea.

“We are here to talk to you about the rewards of finding and following the thing that matters to you; finding that personal passion that’s going to give your community service a sense of purpose,” Assef said.

The overarching theme of the assembly was: ‘find service that matters to you.’ The representatives juxtaposed the stories of two philanthropists whose lives were changed through service. In the first story, the change was instantaneous and dramatic; in the second story, the change took time, but was worth all of the effort. In both cases, doing the service was greatly rewarding.

The most difficult part of community service is finding a cause that’s truly interesting and meaningful. Schein gave this advice: “the most important first step is to look within.”

The representatives proceeded with an on-stage activity. Andrea Schmidt’s 9th-grade advisory was randomly selected to sit at tables on the stage. Photographs of events, moments and activities were spread out on the table, and each advisee was asked to choose a photograph that reflected what impact they wanted their service to have. The representatives asked several students about their choice and what feelings it evoked.

“While our new model is being launched this year, we anticipate that it will evolve and expand over time,” said CAS co-president Emily Carter. Carter added that CAS will continue hosting all other service-related events, such as the annual Service Fair. They also plan on hosting service opportunities more frequently in the future. The model was designed to encourage community service as a habit—not an obligation.