A time-honored spirit of generosity is central to the Country Day experience, which is the result of a commitment to volunteerism and community outreach. Students at every grade level learn the value of giving of themselves for the greater good. And they experience authentic opportunities to interact on a personal level with others.
Here are just a few examples:
- Fourth-grade students hold a book fair and read to younger children at Berryhill Elementary School.
- Eighth graders visit The Learning Cooperative to read and play with preschoolers.
- Two distinctive Country Day service traditions for Upper School students are the Special Olympics Mecklenburg County Spring Games and the mentoring program at Rama Road Elementary School that we piloted for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Special Olympics Cultivates Many Champions
Every April, Upper School students put aside academics for two days to serve as buddies, timekeepers, announcers, event assistants, and concession workers at the Special Olympics Mecklenburg County Spring Games.
The event, which has taken place on Country Day’s Cannon Campus since 1983, has become part of our identity and a time-honored tradition of hospitality shared by three generations of Country Day families. Through the event, students experience the joy of giving and are inspired by the dedication and abilities of the athletes. After participating in Special Olympics, our students walk away with a new appreciation for the power of inclusion, acceptance, and respect.
"Kudos to your school for hosting the Special Olympics. I was impressed by the understanding and compassion the two young men that were assigned to help my son, Marcus, displayed. For this one day our family was accepted and people didn't stare."
Tish Whitaker, parent of Special Olympics competitor
Big Brothers Big Sisters Partnership is a Win-Win
Four days a week at Rama Road Elementary, 25 or so “Littles” eagerly await the arrival of their Country Day “Bigs” for 45 minutes of mentoring and friendship. When you think about it, our juniors and seniors undertake a significant commitment—to be there for another person every week of the year.
Since Country Day piloted the high school mentoring program for Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2002, nearly half the members of every class have volunteered one lunch hour a week to make the 4-mile drive to read, talk, play, and be a friend to a young child. And alumni have carried the tradition forward by becoming mentors in their college cities.
All students take part in projects designed to help others, while instilling a lifelong dedication to service and citizenship. Here is a sampling of student service projects:
Junior Kindergarten—Perform five times each year at a local retirement center.
Kindergarten—Collect necessities for The Thompson Children’s Home.
First Grade—Make door and table decorations to cheer Ronald McDonald House visitors.
Third Grade—Work to support local food pantries.
Sixth Grade—Support community events for Loaves and Fishes.
Seventh Grade—Raise money for Heifer International.
Eighth Grade—Regularly support preschoolers at The Learning Collaborative. Work at Crisis Assistance Ministries.
Ninth-Twelfth Grades—Interact Club cooks, serves, and cleans up annual holiday luncheon for the homeless in the school cafeteria.
All Grades—Collect canned goods for the needy during Spirit Week.