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Community Action Initiative

The objectives of Ashley Hall's Community Action requirement are manifold: to raise student consciousness of issues facing their community, to provide first-hand engagement with those issues by introducing them to organizations and programs developed to address those issues, to challenge student assumptions and preconceptions, to enlarge students' capacity for sympathetic understudying of the needs of others, to initiate and to cultivate the habit of volunteering service to help alleviate those needs. While it is obviously oxymoronic to mandate volunteerism, it is nonetheless true that Community Action obligations are often the first opportunity many young people have to participate in a meaningful way with service organizations. Moreover, give the confusing array of potential volunteer opportunities, students benefit from having their options more clearly defined and their services more efficiently deployed. We know, too, that none of us can predict what experience will awaken us to the role we might play in providing assistance to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Ashley Hall students are asked to volunteer their time and energies to benefit certain specified organizations committed to addressing the Educational, Health, and Environmental concerns facing our community. To fulfill her Community Action requirement for graduation from Ashley Hall, each student in grades 9-12 will work with several of the designated organizations at least 12 times each year. (Other options may be considered. Consultation with the Deans of Students is required.) Students are strongly encouraged to participate in other community action initiatives, especially those which have long been Ashley Hall traditions and those the student has already established a relationship with. Moreover, students should note that dedication to service is one of those distinctive character traits colleges look for in candidates for admission to their communities. While such pragmatic considerations might seem ethically beside the point, they are nonetheless cogent. Moreover, the more truly voluntary the service, the more convincingly indicative of one's character that service will be. Therefore, students should never regard fulfillment of the minimum requirement as anything more than the laying of a foundation for more sustained and more personal commitment.