Service Learning and Community Engagement

Oakwood students Helping at the ShelterIn keeping with Oakwood’s Quaker values and mission, service learning and community engagement are woven into the curriculum and residential-life programs. At all grade levels, students are challenged to think outside their classroom walls and build relationships both locally and beyond.  

Multiple times a year the entire school community focuses on community service and outreach.  During these day-long events, students work in  food pantries, senior centers, local gardens, children’s centers and with rescue animals. On campus, students paint and pressure wash campus buildings to keep them beautiful, plant gardens, build picnic tables and benches and bake for donation to area soup kitchens.Youth Service Opportunities Program - Oakwood

  • At each grade level, students have unique opportunity to work with their peers and community members throughout the year.
  • Middle School students engage in a sustainable agriculture program in which they couple their work in our greenhouse with work in the community focused on food scarcity, nutrition.
  • 9th graders give back locally in December at sites around Poughkeepsie stocking local food pantries,  performing trail maintenance at Mohonk Preserve and beautifying local parks.
  • 10th graders spend two days in NYC working in soup kitchens and homeless shelters through the Youth Service Opportunities Program, YSOP
  • 11th graders spend a week in Washington D.C volunteering at sites throughout the city cleaning up the Congressional Cemetery, helping at food banks and assisting the elderly in cleaning their homes.
  • 12th graders give back during several day-long events throughout the year with individually designed service projects all over the Hudson Valley.

Featured Service Programs:

Community Service through the Arts at OakwoodCommunity Service Through the Arts

In this class students plan and engage in artistic service learning projects through musical performances and theater pieces in retirement homes, hospitals, schools and other area non-profits.  Music Director Ted Messerschmidt:  “It’s been great to see the positive impact their performances have had on a wide variety of people in the Hudson Valley including some individuals who rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to hear live music.”


Oakwood Sustainable GardeningSustainable Gardening in the Hudson Valley

Oakwood Friends School’s four-season greenhouse serves more than just as a place to pick fresh carrots during the February freeze. This space serves as an outdoor living classroom and a focal point of Oakwood’s sustainable agriculture program.  Students learn about amending soil, composting and sustainable farming practices. Each week during the fall and spring terms, they volunteer their afternoons with local retirees, helping them tend to their home gardens and share the campus bounty.