Discovering personal greatness in pre-school through grade 8 students - Burlington, Vermont

Service Learning at Mater Christi School

October 26, 2015

Reaching OutThis year, Mater Christi School marked its 20th year of service learning. Each year, 7th and 8th grade students in groups of 4-6 students, accompanied by their teachers, do volunteer work at non-profit agencies such as:

  • St. Joseph’s Home
  • Salvation Army
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • COTS
  • King Street Youth Center
  • Spectrum
  • Burlington Boys and Girls Club
  • Joseph’s House
  • Mount St. Mary’s and Mater Christi School.

On Friday, October 23, the MCS 8th graders completed the second phase of their Reaching Out Program. The musicians among the group usually give a concert for the Sisters of Mercy, whose convent is connected to the Mater Christi Middle School building. This year was no different. To an audience of 14 Sisters who live at Mount Saint Mary’s, the students performed jazz, violin and piano solos. The Sisters expressed amazement at the talent exhibited by these 8th graders. Another group put the convent vegetable garden “to sleep” for the year.

Reaching OutOther volunteer efforts included playing bingo with the residents at St. Joseph’s Home, making chili and brownies at Spectrum (carrying the heavy food items down to Spectrum from school was probably more difficult than cooking them), raking leaves at the Ronald McDonald House, cleaning at the King Street Youth Center, making posters at COTS, cleaning vans at the Burlington Boys and Girls Club, and organizing and stocking shelves at Joseph’s House. Stocking the shelves, according to the teachers did not take long due to the fact that, unfortunately, there were very few items available to be placed on the empty shelves.

Each student goes to two different sites in one day, and this includes helping some of the MCS teachers of younger students in their classrooms.

Reaching OutMater Christi faculty, staff and parents readily agree that this program is extremely valuable for the junior high students in that they get acquainted with the other non-profit agencies in Burlington and have the opportunity to learn new skills, problem solve, and interact with persons with whom they would not otherwise have the opportunity. It also serves to prepare these students to fulfill service requirements in high school.

The Sisters of Mercy sponsor Mater Christi, a private Catholic school, with students from over 20 towns and villages in northern Vermont.

Sister Joanne LaFreniere, RSM
Director of Public Relations and Spiritual Life