Upper school students (grades six-12) and faculty from Golda Och Academy visited 18 different service sites to give back to the community on Jan. 18.
Throughout the morning, students had the opportunity to visit seniors; work with children in daycare centers and charter schools; assist in animal shelters; organize food at local food pantries and food banks; participate in global outreach; run activities for people living with AIDS; and interact with disabled adults and youth.
“It was incredible to see our school come together for an impactful day of service and learning. In addition to giving students hands-on volunteer experience, Community Service Day was a way to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Jordan Herskowitz, GOA’s director of student life. “It was a strong statement of support for our community and gave students the chance to take part in important work.”
Tenth-grader Emme Young visited Spectrum 360, a school for the disabled, and was interested to see how the kids interacted with each other and the social skills they were learning in class. “Community Service Day exposes us to different places we can volunteer and different ways we can help our community.”
Eighth-grader Avraham Deitz-Green, who went to Daughters of Israel in West Orange, said the residents were overjoyed to have the GOA visitors. “It was an eye-opening experience, and I really felt like I was making a difference.”
Upon returning to school, students attended various workshops led by GOA faculty and leaders from the local community focusing on issues such as hunger and homelessness, domestic violence, gender equality, LGBT issues, Newark’s Jewish history, environmental issues, and humane treatment of animals and animal rights.
GOA also welcomed filmmaker Bennett Singer, who shared clips from his award-winning documentary “Brother Outsider” about the life of Bayard Rustin, a civil rights activist who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.