Community service is emphasized in a Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart education. Goal III of all Sacred Heart schools seeks to educate to a social awareness that impels action. With this in mind, Woodlands Academy held the first of its two 2022-23 service days on Nov. 1. Freshmen and juniors from the all-girls college-preparatory day-and-boarding high school in Lake Forest lent a helping hand to some area service organizations. At the same time, sophomores and seniors participated in retreat activities.
Woodlands Academy juniors and freshmen spent the first part of their day at Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) in Libertyville. While there they helped prepare a total of 29,592 meals (enough to feed 81 kids for a year) for distribution. FMSC donates meals packaged in Libertyville and its other sites to food partners that feed hungry kids worldwide.
From there, Woodlands’ freshmen proceeded to Fill a Heart 4 Kids where they sorted coats for donation and decorated the facility for the Christmas season. This Lake Forest-based non-profit helps foster children and homeless youth across northern Illinois. One way it does this is by providing holiday gift bags and greetings to children and teens who live in group homes and shelters.
After returning to Woodlands Academy, freshmen completed their service day activities by making dinners for residents of The Haven Women’s Shelter in Libertyville.
Woodlands’ juniors followed their service at Feed My Starving Children with a visit to Thrive of Lake County – a short-term care facility in Mundelein designed to meet unique needs of short-term medical rehabilitation patients who might otherwise be placed in traditional nursing homes. They spent an hour there socializing with residents. After their return to the school, junior class members wrote notes to Thrive of Lake County residents and made cards for PADS Lake County clients. PADS is a community-based organization that provides support, resources and shelter to those experiencing a housing crisis.
“I’m so very proud of our freshmen and juniors who did truly awesome work during this year’s first Service Day,” Deborah MacAyeal, Woodlands Academy’s service coordinator, said. “We do this with the hope that the girls gain a greater understanding of themselves and see the difference they can make in the lives of others.”
Meanwhile, sophomores were shuttled to CROYA in Lake Forest for a retreat about team building, while seniors stayed on campus for their retreat, “Time: Past, Present, and Future.”
Woodlands Academy's final Service Day of the 2022-23 school year is in February. Sophomores and seniors will be volunteering at area service organizations while freshmen and juniors participate in retreats.
The school’s service program seeks to raise students’ consciousness about the poor, the marginalized and the disadvantaged while encouraging them to promote social justice and social responsibility. Woodlands Academy students must perform at least 70 hours of community service to graduate. Many of them become passionate about service and far exceed the required minimum hours.