Charity at School
It is the aim of South Hampstead High School that students not only play their part in the school community, but also in the community beyond school, volunteering and raising funds for worthwhile causes. “Working with and for communities plays a crucial role in shaping sensitive and empathic leaders and at South Hampstead, we are determined to give our girls many opportunities to do this,” says the school.
Once a week, Year 10s volunteer at JW3’s In the Loop programme, teaching IT novices how to tweet, text, Skype, post a photo on Instagram and set up a Facebook account. “Volunteering for In the Loop was an immensely rewarding experience. I showed an elderly lady how to use Skype and WhatsApp. She can now easily communicate with her grandchildren in Israel,” says a South Hampstead student.
Mitzvah Day founder, Laura Marks, is an alumna of the school and this is the fourth year South Hampstead has been involved. This year, girls will collect donations for Little Village, a charity helping local families in need; the school will also support The Backpack Project, which provides equipment to schoolchildren in Malawi. Last year, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was among VIP visitors who helped students, parents and staff sort through donations of clothes for the homeless on Mitzvah Day.
The school also partners Spear Camden, an organisation that runs a coaching programme to transform the lives of unemployed young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and prepare them for the workplace. Sixth Formers will support Spear trainees during coaching sessions and assist with CV writing and other tasks. Parents have also been invited to provide practice interviews.
Each year, South Hampstead chooses a whole-school charity to support. This year, it is Action Breaks Silence, which was established “to create a world where women and girls can live their lives free from fear of gender-based violence”.
South Hampstead students have also been visiting residents at local care homes for more than 20 years. Pupils get to know the residents in the homes and find out about their lives. In the words of the school, “it truly opens their hearts and minds”.
Article first appeared in The Jewish Chronicle, October 2018