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Service Program


Service to the community through partnerships with local non-profits is a core value of the Miller School of Albemarle, where volunteerism is truly substantive and focused on long-term engagement rather than a simple accumulation of hours. This is accomplished through bi-weekly service days in which every MSA student participates, with many students maintaining sustained partnerships with local non-profit organizations and engaging in service activities that benefit a wide range of Albemarle County residents. At the beginning of each school year, students are assigned to an on- or off-campus service group that they will work with throughout the year, allowing for long-term involvement and investment. The following are this year’s service groups.

Campus Beautification

The Campus Beautification service group is divided into two sections: Campus Trails and Campus Chores.  Under the direction of Mr. Hufnagel and Mr. Guptill, the Campus Trails group designs and builds mountain bike and hiking trails on campus.  The Campus Chores group, led by Mr. Pallante, works on a number of jobs around campus, including trash collection and cleanup (occasionally on Miller School Road), tree limb and debris pick-up, and weeding as needed.  On days that rain does not permit for this service group to go outside, students frame and hang pictures, locating new places to showcase students’ work.

Campus Trails

With the Miller School of Albemarle playing host to numerous athletic events, including cross country running and Virginia’s first interscholastic mountain bike racing series, the school benefits greatly from having an enjoyable and sustainable network of trails on their pristine 1,600 acre campus. The Campus Trails service group is charged with not only maintaining current trails, but designing and engineering miles of new trail for hiking, running, and cycling as well.

Building a quality trail that will stand up to the test of time and constant threat of erosion requires sound planning and execution, so the year begins with a presentation from a local trail building expert, typically a CAMBC (Charlottesville Area Moutain Bike Club) member. Once the basic principals are established, each service member is assigned specialized trail building tool and a task and the work begins. With the ambitious goal of creating 3+ miles of new trail each year, there is never a down moment and progress is made rain or shine.

Live Arts

The purpose of this service is twofold.  First, students in the service group will prepare music for concerts to be given off campus; therefore, the individuals must have musical talent and be selected by Mr. Celella.  Members of this service group will also assist in preparation for drama performances, working on costumes, the costume closet, the prop room, etc.

Elementary Schools

Miller School of Albemarle students who are interested in a career in education gain first-hand experience in an elementary school classroom by working in this service group. The group also provides MSA students an excellent opportunity to be a role model for younger children, many of whom come from difficulty family situations. Each student volunteer is assigned to an individual classroom to assist the teacher and the students in that class. Often, the MSA student is paired one-on-one with a child who needs individual attention. Sometimes our students will work with small groups on a class assignment.

Engineering Group

This service groups constructs bookshelves for the students to use in hallways, makes picture frames to display student photography and artwork, and completes regular maintenance and repairs of chairs and classroom furniture as requested by teachers.  Other jobs may include making a schematic of the class plaques, painting bird houses to be sold in the school store, and inventorying all offices, spaces and classroom.

Horses As Healers

If you like horses, enjoy being outside, don’t mind getting dirty, and enjoy developing relationships with others, then you’ll love volunteering for Horses as Healers. Horses as Healers is dedicated to providing a comprehensive riding program designed to enhance the psychosocial development and growth of children with emotion, social, behavioral or physical challenges; in a supportive, challenging and professional environment.

As part of the Horses as Healers Service group, MSA students have the opportunity to groom and care for horses, to be a side-walker to aid the rider, and to complete farm chores. These tasks require a level of maturity and the willingness to work with large animals and students of varying backgrounds.

MSA Library

The Library service group helps to maintain the cleanliness of the Library by cleaning, dusting and shelving books. The group gets to look at new books and is asked to give feedback on current books and Young Adult Literature that they would like to read.

Parks and Recreation

This service group does different jobs each week in the parks around Charlottesville.  Tasks include mulching and weeding flower beds, installing equipment, and performing routine maintenance.

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Every spring Charlottesville, Virginia hosts one of the biggest book festivals in the country – a five day event that draws an audience of over 22,000 book lovers. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to stage an event of this scale, and Miller School of Albemarle students are helping out.

The service group contributes to festival preparations in a number of ways. Students distribute promotional bookmarks to stores throughout the Charlottesville area. They help festival administrators enter data and sort materials. They even read book submissions and help to decide whether or not they should be accepted into the festival!

In short, this service group is an excellent opportunity for MSA students to learn about event organization, promotion, and planning. Even more importantly, it is an opportunity for them to serve their community and one of the most important cultural events in the state of Virginia.

Social Media Group

This service group helps the school’s Media Coordinator gather and create content for social media about events about and surrounding Miller and its community. Using photography, videography, and writing skills, students create content that can be used on the school’s website and social media sites. The group allows for the individual to express creativity and independence with honing their writing and photography skills, ultimately giving the student’s work an online audience.

Society of Women Engineers
Ronald McDonald House
Crozet Library
News & Journalism
Edison’s Power Plant
Guerilla Goodness
Help Desk/Tech Repair