Leading with Love in Our Community
At Branch, community service is not an occasional event, but a shared commitment woven into the curriculum in ways that help children develop empathy and embrace their own ability to improve the world around them.
Giving Back to Our Community
Our students and teachers are involved in many activities of service across the community, often in support of veterans and active duty military or animal shelters across Houston. Here are a few examples of their efforts to love and serve our community:
Third graders sharpen their writing skills as part of the Leaves of Love project. Each month, they write postcards to friends and family facing hard times—a classmate coping with illness, grandparents moving to assisted living, aunts or uncles who are lonely. The project helps students expand their understanding of community even as they learn practical skills, including the proper way to address an envelope.
Each Veterans Day, middle school students write cards to those who have served to express our community’s gratitude. Cards are sent to the Veteran’s Administration, Camp Hope—an organization that supports soldiers with PTSD—as well as relatives and friends of The Branch School. Students have also collected supplies needed by homeless veterans and passed them out through Operation Stand Down, a nonprofit organization that provides social services to homeless vets.
As part of an eighth-grade Capstone Project, a Branch student oversaw a drive for AniMeals, the pet division of Meals on Wheels. Our families collected nearly 300 pounds in donated pet food. Our students further supported this capstone through the school’s Bear Den program, when the entire student body came together for 90 minutes and tied blankets for the animals serviced by AniMeals. So many blankets were made that CAPs shelter animals also benefited.
Members of the Branch National Junior Honor Society avail themselves of many opportunities to serve others. They have given piano recitals for residents of local senior living centers, helped at The Parish School Adventure Playground to support children with communication delays and learning differences, and served as acolytes at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church. Each year, members of the NJHS are eligible for awards that honor strong achievement in academics and service. Several of our NHJS students have received this honor, which awards money for college.
Student Council donated the funds they raised this year to the Houston Food Bank. $585.80 was donated.
Toys for Tots – Our students are asked to bring new toys to share with others. Each year, our donation boxes overflow showing our students' love of others.
Our students also hold a yearly contest, Coins for Kenya, to help raise scholarship funds for students attending our sister school, Sunrise of Africa School. Our Middle School students also help assemble a yearly donation mailing for Sunrise of Africa School that includes Christmas cards made by the students in Africa by putting the letters together, stamping them, and sending out the mailing as a service project.
Branch alumni have completed various Eagle Scout projects that have helped beautify our campus. These include designing, constructing, and installing 20 nesting boxes for birds around campus; acquiring and planting two dozen saplings on campus; installing a drip irrigation system and rebuilding concrete block vegetable beds; and building and installing raised wooden planting beds with olla irrigation systems.