Students in Grades 6-9 at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) participate in an annual Lehman Day of Service, traveling off campus to volunteer at a variety of organizations. This year’s organizations included Earth Conservation Corps, Stepping Stones Shelter, Charles E. Smith Life Communities, Leveling the Playing Field, A Wider Circle, and the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project.
As a first-year student at CESJDS, I have had many opportunities to enhance relations within my community. The Lehman Day of Service was a great way for the school to engage in community outreach for a day. Students, including myself, learned that even though their lives may be happy and bubbly, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work in order for it to be that way.
For my Lehman Day of Service project, I went to the Sherman Early Childhood Center at Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac, Maryland. I spent time and played with the kids in the three-year-old class, in addition to decorating baskets with flowers, a Shavuot custom, and filling them with canned fruits donated by Sherman ECC families. The baskets were later donated to the Manna Food Center.
Together with the children, I made braids out of playdough and helped them clean up rice from their sensory table. I then learned that the class was in the process of learning their letters and how to spell their names. Their names were written out in tape on the carpet and the children had to sit on their names in order to be called for the handwashing line. As each child went up, the teacher wouldn’t say their name, but what the child was wearing or what unique letter was in their name, or the number of family members in that child’s family.
Looking back on my Day of Service, I saw the foundations of myself. I can see that those kids will go into kindergarten knowing how to spell and write their names. I can see that they will be able to work together on future projects. I can see their futures by spending just one day in the classroom. I can see the hard work of the teachers and parents in order to provide a promising future.
By Hannah Azachi
Hannah Azachi is a freshman at CESJDS.