Our program teaches students how to connect their passions, talents, and resources to real-world issues in positive and meaningful ways.
Packer students are encouraged both by teachers and their peers to see themselves as active citizens – locally, nationally, and internationally – beginning in Preschool and increasing throughout the Upper School. Our focus is on empowering students and preparing them to become lifelong, active stewards of their communities. Rather than completing a certain number of “service hours,” Packer students engage authentically in the community through a range of projects that address local and global issues. Always a focus of continued refinement, our ways of connecting each Packer student with the wider world tend to have a lasting positive impact on both.
Our approach to Community Engagement requires students to think about how they would like to participate in their communities, what issues are important to them, and how they can use their skills to have an impact. Starting in Middle School, students have opportunities to develop volunteer opportunities for themselves and their peers through our Community and Action classes.
The ABCs of Community Engagement at Packer
Upper School students earn credits in three types of engagement work: Advocacy & Activism includes community organizing while Community Education defines how our students share engagement experiences with their peers and lead workshops to enrich the Packer community; Service entails volunteerism of many kinds.
In the Lower School we introduce the FARE model — Familiarize, Act, Reflect, Extend — as a way of helping students engage with community issues by acting on their own learning. Because the work of improving the world is never finished, we emphasize periods of reflection and ways to extend our actions. This leads to deeper understanding that can be applied to further activities. When we complete one project, we explore ways of doing more, based on what we learned.
The Upper School’s Service Leadership Council (SLC) is a student-led group that engages students throughout the community in meaningful and impactful ways. Members are selected by the Director of Global Programs and Community Engagement, the Dean of Student Life and Leadership, and the SLC Coordinators.
Activism with Purpose and Heart
Amid national controversies that felt unprecedented in recent history, our students tackled challenging issues with confidence, thoughtfulness, and empathy.
• Arab-American Family Support Center
• TEAK Fellowship
• First Presbyterian Church Food Pantry
• Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Shelter
• Children’s Law Center
• Little Flower Children and Family Services
• Gowanus Canal Conservancy
Students can choose from a wide range of clubs dedicated to activism, services, and community engagement.