While most Saturdays find some teenagers sleeping late into the afternoon, 158 area girls were up early and ready to work.
To commemorate their Centennial, The Madeira School in McLean organized a day of service for students and alumnae on Sept. 16. More than half the current 300 boarding and day students participated in a variety of service projects in both Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. with 30 faculty members serving as both participants and project managers. Students chose from five different projects that ranged from directly connecting with community members to helping beautify local spaces.
LIFT ME UP!, a therapeutic riding facility in Great Falls, provided volunteers with a chance to get dirty by moving mulch and cleaning the barn. Due to inclement weather the day before, the girls were unable to complete some planned aspects of the project. Three students, including Olivia Straub, a member of the class of 2008, asked for a follow-up trip to be organized so they could return and complete the project the following weekend.
"It was rewarding because we got to see some of the kids who benefit from this program," Straub said.
A project based at Grand Oaks Assisted Living in Washington, D.C. provided a chance for some of Madeira's performing arts students to display their skills. Lydia Kim of the class of 2007, a violinist, was one of many students who played, danced and sang for the program's residents.
"I've been playing violin for a long time, about 13 years," Kim said, "I thought that sharing my musicality, even if it was for a mere five minutes, could make someone's day brighter."
OTHER PROJECTS included working at Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., weeding in gardens and organizing donations at Claude Moore Farm, and reading to students attending Randolph Elementary School in Arlington.
Danielle Stockton a member of the class of 2009, organized her own project with a few recruited friends and worked at "The Closet," a thrift store run by Reston Interfaith.
"Every little bit counts," said Patricia Silverman, one of the events main organizers, "We have had great feedback."
Both the girls who gave up a part of their weekend and the organizations that hosted projects benefited from this day of service.
"It was really rewarding for me too," Straub said, "Because I know giving back to the community is really important."s