Sandy Spring Friends School



Community Service in the Upper School

The purpose of the Community Service at SSFS is to respond to the needs of others and to thereby enrich the school community and the lives of its members. Every Upper School student is expected to perform community service for the broader community as well as service to the School.

School-Sponsored Service Events

Each year, the School offers a number of community service opportunities where our Upper School students can volunteer and obtain service hours. Three examples of community service events include:

Community Service in High School, Juniors taking group photo for their class service project

SO.M.E. Shoebox Holiday Gifts Charitable Project (December)

S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat) is an interfaith organization based in D.C. that provides meals, clothing, shelter, rehabilitation, counseling, and so much more to those in need. Each year, the Junior class sponsors this project, collecting donations of items to fill wrapped shoe boxes with new personal items useful to a homeless man, woman, or child.

Community participating in MLK Jr. Day of Service

Martin Luther King Day of Service (January)

Each January, our Parents Association hosts a MLK Jr. Day of Service Event on the SSFS Campus. During our event, the community gathers on campus to participate in various all-ages service projects, such as Empty Bowl, Smart Sacks, and the Linus Blanket Project.  We hope you will join us next January for another great day of service!

Community Service in High School, posed photo of empty bowl attendees

Empty Bowl (Event held every other year in February)

The SSFS community hosts biennial Empty Bowl dinners, which raise funds to feed the hungry in our area. These efforts have been supported by hundreds of volunteers from our community who have created thousands of beautiful, hand-painted bowls, as well as local restaurants and volunteer chefs who have provided thousands of servings of soup and bread.

Summer Service Trips

Summer Service Trips, headed by Upper School faculty members, are designed to promote service learning in our school. In keeping with Friends values, students share their time and abilities with others, helping in real and concrete ways. 

In past summers, Upper School students participating in SSFS summer service trips program have performed service in South Africa, Honduras, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, West Virginia, and DC; one group also biked the Allegheny mountains to raise money to build a school in Pakistan/Afghanistan. Other groups contributed to their communities in a variety of ways: helping to construct a classroom for students studying electrical technology, rehabing houses in rural America for older citizens, and developing an after-school program that included teaching theater and dance to young children.

In the summer of 2015 Leah Niepold, US Spanish teacher, led a trip to Costa Rica. The group helped to build a local community center and maintained the trails the children are currently using to get to school, among other projects. They also learned about the Bribri, Costa Rica's largest group of indigenous people; hiked through the rainforest to learn about the medicinal values and properties of some of the native plants; planted fruit trees to help prevent flooding; and went on canopy tours, and enjoyed the beaches.