Service to the community through partnerships with local non-profits is a core value of the Miller School of Albemarle, where volunteerism is 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.
2017-18 SERVICE GROUPS
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) outreach is going to two middle schools (Burley Middle and the Village School) and leading students through engineering-related activities. Our service group consists entirely of women to help demonstrate to younger students that girls are just as capable as boys at science and engineering.
Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center
The African American Heritage Center interns work to assist in the planning and preparation of the AAHC's annual spring event, called the Spring Soiree. Along the way, students learn the history of African-American community in the Charlottesville area. Students oversee many crucial aspects of the event in the hope of benefitting the greater community.
Parks and Rec
We travel to different parks and recreation areas around the city of Charlottesville and work on various projects. The projects range from installing benches and footbridges to cutting down vines to spreading mulch.
Ronald McDonald House
The Ronald McDonald House offers MSA students a service opportunity to help the staff with operation, organization, and fundraising tasks. Time is spent addressing envelopes and stuffing with mailers, cleaning and organizing storage areas, transporting soda tabs to recycling, baking, and preparing for events. Though students do not work directly with the patients of families who are staying at the house, their work is invaluable to the organization.
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH)
Students help prepare for VFH’s flagship program, the Virginia Festival of the Book, a week-long celebration of reading and writing. Each spring, the Festival draws 20,000 attendees from across the nation for readings, lectures, discussions, and films. Such a large event requires year-round preparations, and students contribute in a variety of ways, from evaluating book submissions to distributing promotional materials.
Agnor Hurt Elementary
The students in the Agnor Hurt Elementary School service group are assigned to a grade-level classroom. The students assist the teacher in whatever ways they can. Very often, our students are working one-on-one with individual students who need extra attention. Our students will also work with small groups on in-class projects and assignments. In addition to working in the grade level classrooms, our students help out in the library, the art room, and in the gifted resources center.
Campus Trails- Mr. Macdonald and Mr. Guptill
The Campus Trails Service Group works to construct new trails on MSA’s campus while also maintaining and improving existing trails. Students learn basic principles of sustainable trail design, and then have the opportunity to put that knowledge to use with the work they perform. Additionally, members of this service group also learn and employ simple engineering techniques during the construction of bridges and other structures that improve the enjoyment and usability of the campus trails network.
Engineering- Mr. Hanson
Engineering Service Group: We fix things and build things for the school community. This year we've fixed chairs, a podium, a sewing cabinet, and a few windows. We are working on building a few tables for the Design/Build classroom and Wayland Hall. We've created building blocks for an elementary school classroom and we are also working on learning to make balusters for Old Main stairs.
The firewood group works on splitting and stacking firewood harvested on our campus, for the local non-profit, the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP). Our group will team up with AHIP in order to provide firewood for low income families in the area that heat exclusively with wood. Wood deliveries will be made with the students throughout the winter.
The Haven is a local day shelter for the homeless housed in downtown Charlottesville. While there, students assist the patrons in their Wednesday cafe, serving food to the local community. They also assess and recruit much needed supplies throughout the year.
The students that serve at Crozet Elementary work as teacher aides in the classrooms. They will often work one-on-one with a student or in a small group to help guide them through an assignment or project. Students can work with any grade level, K-5th, and in a variety of classroom settings such as reading, writing, science, and art.
MSA students--from six different countries!--are learning to sew special purses for the U.S.-based non-profit organization, sewpowerful.org. Once completed, the purses are sent to Africa, filled with basic sanitary supplies, and then given to desperately poor girls in schools in Zambia. The goal of these purses and supplies is to help keep girls in school all month long.
From the early 1880’s until the 1960’s, Miller School produced nearly all of its own electricity via on-campus hydroelectric power. The long-term goal of the alternative energy service group is to free Miller School from dependence on grid-provided electricity. This will be done by installing proof-of-principle energy capturing systems on campus through solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy systems.
Guerrilla Goodness is an on-campus service group that provides students the opportunity to discover their service passion through a variety of projects. Students engage in a new and unique activity that raises awareness about important issues at local, regional, state and international levels each service day. These projects may be as simple as making a no-sew blanket for the Charlottesville Chapter of Project Linus to fundraising for a medical mission in the Dominican Republic.
At Brownsville Elementary our students are helping kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students during recess. Ours students play with the younger kids, and help by role modeling how to be inclusive in play and how to resolve conflicts in a positive manner. You can find our students pushing kids on the swings, spinning kids on playground equipment, playing four-square, or helping with creating sidewalk chalk drawings.
Live Arts/ Ruritans
We are a community that gathers to celebrate each other in the chapel in Old Main. This service group provides support for that space: Cleaning, building and taking down sets, audio tech, and design services. Occasionally, we will volunteer for Live Arts, the community theater located on Water Street in Charlottesville, VA. We also volunteer for the Batesville Ruritans, a local service organization that assists in road cleanup, Batesville Day Parade and Festival planning, and Batesville Apple Butter Days.