People for Others
“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” —St. Francis of Assisi
Young people can accomplish more than they realize. By encouraging a spirit of giving in our students—and providing a channel for their big-hearted ideas—we aim to help create people for others who will grow to exemplify the character traits of integrity, honesty, and empathy.
In recent years, St. Francis students have worked together to feed the poor; collect food, toys, and coats for families in need; hand-deliver school supplies to students in Costa Rica; raise funds for eye exams for disadvantaged children; create pottery bowls to benefit the Houston Food Bank; tie-dye pillow cases for patients at Texas Children’s Hospital; and even donate more than $35,000 in award money from the Lead2Feed World Hunger Leadership Challenge to local nonprofit organizations. Not to mention, our selfless students have set up countless lemonade stands in their own front yards to help other causes close to their hearts.
At St. Francis, this is what it means to be people for others.
To uphold the tenet put forth in the Prayer of St. Francis that “it is in giving that we receive,” our school held its first ingathering in 1993. Since then, St. Francis students and families have united regularly each school year to give to worthy causes during designated on-campus collections days. These school-wide events promote a sense of community and foster joy in helping others in need.
Grade-level and division service projects form the backbone of our St. Francis community outreach efforts. From Primary students doing chores around the house to collect coins for the Eye Care for Kids Foundation to Lower School students writing Valentine cards to members of the U.S. military to our older students bagging rice at the Houston Food Bank, projects span time spent at home, on campus, around town, and on our annual grade-level class trips.
At the heart of every effort is the goal of enriching our student population through the following:
- Cultivating an awareness of human needs and differences that extends beyond the student’s normal classroom or home experiences.
- Developing in each student a moral sense of “giving back.”
- Encouraging a personal pattern of service by helping students learn to organize time and talents.
- Offering students opportunities to experience hands-on outreach.
- Foster a belief that change for the better is possible through individual and group efforts.
Established in 2013, the student-driven St. Francis C.A.R.E.S. (Children Actively Remaking Economic Situations) program aims to provide satellite and domestic support for reducing poverty across the globe. Our students are the eyes, ears, and voices of this far-reaching initiative, which helps build schools, educate children, and aid the less fortunate.
In the short-term, adult C.A.R.E.S. teams composed of St. Francis faculty and staff have already traveled to India, Rio de Janeiro, Swaziland, and Haiti on initial scouting visits to begin to lay the groundwork for future student trips. And our students have taken advantage of the St. Francis Travel Program trip to Costa Rica each summer to begin their own altruistic work. On the slopes of Monteverde, students at Escuela Altos de San Luis today use school supplies and resources hand-delivered to them by St. Francis students, while a once-empty “computer room” now functions as a Mac lab capable of opening new worlds of information and education to these South American peers.
Middle School students may earn the honor of graduating “With Distinction” through the St. Francis service hours program. Students in grades 5–8 are encouraged to take part in outside service opportunities for which they must discern a need, choose an activity that addresses it, and then arrange and execute their response. In choosing to do so, they earn service hours for which they may be honored at St. Francis’s Middle School Recognition Ceremony each spring.