Volunteers of the Month: The Galloway School

For the past two years, students from The Galloway School have spent part of their time serving, and learning, in the Clarkston community! The excursion was designed to give Galloway students an opportunity to impact their community with greater understanding, action and compassion.

The Galloway School is a private, co-ed school founded in 1969 that follows a unique 4-D learning philosophy: Daring, Deliberate, Dynamic, and Discovery. Through 4-D learning, upper-level students have the opportunity for service-learning in their local communities, organized by their teachers and staff.

The Galloway School emphasizes service learning so students can get involved in volunteer opportunities in general, and because it gives them the chance to learn something new about a different population whether that be refugees, the homeless, or the elderly. This year, we were proud to be joined by a group of twenty students and three adults from The Galloway School, as they practiced their 4-D learning in Clarkston.

During their excursion, students were able to really experience the beautiful diversity of Clarkston. While serving with New American Pathways, the group completed an apartment set up for a newly-arriving family of four from Somalia. Students worked with New American Pathways to see what items needed to be collected, and through the help of parents, staff, and volunteers, they gathered the items and set up a beautiful apartment.

When groups volunteer for an apartment set up, they see the process that takes place before a family arrives. Volunteers collect items, physically set up an apartment, and, most importantly, feel a sense of leadership in welcoming refugees to Georgia.

These Galloway students transformed an empty apartment into a home. French teacher Scottie Belfi, who helped lead the Clarkston initiative, says the opportunity really resonated with the students. The service project helped students understand that the images they see in the media mean people are leaving behind a lot. They are leaving a life they built and starting a new one here in a place where they language is new, the jobs are different, and so much more.

Before service begins, Scottie tells the students, “You have to do what you can with what you have.” In this case, students did a lot with the four days they had to give back to their community.