Many schools, especially high schools, have a service hour requirement. Under the requirement, students usually need to fulfill 30-60 hours of volunteer work each year. Brookewood, on the other hand, has no such requirement; instead, it encourages students to serve others out of the charity of their own hearts. The school organizes events for students to participate in (an annual mission trip to a shelter in Jamaica, soup kitchen visits, food drives, etc.), but it doesn’t require participation in these events. The idea is that students will seek volunteer opportunities as a natural outflow of what they are learning in the classroom, and it seems to work. The vast majority of seniors have either joined a volunteer group or continue to volunteer at a local retirement home while others help serve meals at St. Martin’s Soup Kitchen.This spirit of helping others is not merely seen in the High School; students are frequently organizing their own bake sales and other charity events in the Lower and Middle School grades in order to help those in need. The school emphasizes that God gives every person specific gifts and abilities to be charitable.
This past Saturday, Mr. Tom Stroot, of Avalon school, encouraged students from Brookewood and Avalon (Brookewood’s brother school) to assemble healthy lunches in bags for at the Knights of Columbus Rosensteel Council for the Catholic Charities shelter near the RFK stadium. The total number of bags they needed to stuff and assemble was 3,000. Around 40 members from both communities came, and they assembled the bags in record time—1 hour!
According to senior Kaylor Stroot, “It was so much fun! The sense of giving was tangible, and the knowledge that we were directly helping those who were hungry motivated the group to work with cheer and efficiency.”
Brookewood’s Director of Admissions, Helen Williams, brought her son and friend, both Avalon students, and they were changed by the event. “The boys would almost never get up early on a Saturday, but after this event, they were inspired to do events like this more.”
Even kindergarteners and first graders participated in this event, and, according to Mrs. Wiliams, “They felt like they were part of the action instead of on the sidelines. For them, it was an empowering moment that showed how they can use themselves to help, even at a young age.”