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Social responsibility is an integral part of the mission of La Jolla Country Day School. The school’s promise, inspiring greatness for a better world, includes learning from others and using that knowledge to help make the community stronger. Our service program is a stronghold of the Torrey way of life that starts with our youngest Torreys at age 3 and continues through Grade 12. Torrey P.R.O.U.D. (Preparation, Reciprocity, Opportunity, Understanding, Dignity) principles are used as a guide to ensure we are partnering thoughtfully and effectively with community partners.
Students experience the effects of meaningful service-learning with a combination of classroom discussions and lessons, hands-on opportunities and thoughtful reflections. Service-learning allows students to: 
  • Develop skills in problem-solving, decision-making, collaboration, communication, leadership and critical thinking
  • Gain a deeper understanding of themselves and empathy for others
  • Build positive relationships with the community and bond with classmates
  • Collaborate with community partners to create sustainable solutions in their communities
  • Increase public awareness of social issues
  • Learn civic responsibility

Our Program

There are several all-school events throughout the year that bring the community together, including:

  • San Diego Food Bank food drive
  • San Diego Blood Bank blood drive
  • Giving Tree holiday gift drive
  • Words Alive book drive
  • Pink Month to benefit Susan G. Komen San Diego
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation OneWalk
  • Small Art, Big Heart art auction for Richmond Animal League (VA)
It’s hard to empathize and really get passionate about a cause if you’re just reading about it or hearing about it. When you’re actually going and helping the cause, it definitely takes on a whole other meaning.” 

Amanda Nance, Class of 2019
Read more about Amanda's experience.

Program by Division

List of 3 items.

  • Lower School

    Service learning starts with the youngest students in Tiny Torreys, junior kindergarten and kindergarten. Outreach efforts focus on the San Diego Humane Society and Project Wildlife.

    Grade 1 students engage in cross-generational work with visits to Vi Assisted Living where they meet friends of a different generation. Students share their love of reading when friends from Vi are invited to visit campus on Read Across America Day.

    Grade 2 students learn about food insecurity in San Diego, particularly as it affects local school children, from Feeding San Diego. In addition to donating food items, students sort thousands of pounds of fresh produce each year at the Feeding San Diego warehouse. 

    Grade 3 students learn about health and access to healthcare as they partner with Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. Students work together to provide residents with a craft activity and ice cream party. 

    Grade 4 students learn about the financial side of philanthropic work through a partnership with Innovation & Design. Fourth graders have donated to organizations like Project Wildlife, Frosted Faces Foundation and Sherman Elementary School Garden.

  • Middle School

    While the Middle School program continues to include grade-level projects, many students also take advantage of student-led opportunities or participate in service work independently. Annual fundraising activities are held for San Diego Habitat for Humanity. Grades 7–8 students may enroll in the Philanthropy Partners elective offered during one trimester each year. 

    Grade 5 students participate in Global Citizenship week with speakers addressing global topics on a local level. They also build and paint playhouses with Camp Habitat, a partnership with San Diego Habitat for Humanity. The playhouses are donated to Head Start programs and low-income families throughout San Diego county. 

    Grade 6 students spend time volunteering on campus, supporting organizations like metugo, Operation Gratitude and Welcome Blankets On Call. They also volunteer at Second Chance Youth Garden and continue learning about food insecurity and food deserts. 

    Grade 7 students design a six-hour service project through the Facing History and Ourselves multidisciplinary project. Many of these short commitments turn into lifelong passions that extend into the Upper School and beyond. 

    Grade 8 students explore their individual interests as well as experience service-learning in many of their classes.

  • Upper School

    Community service in the Upper School is student-led and student-driven, and service-learning is integrated into the curriculum in all departments. 

    The Community Service Board is a group of students selected by application who create, plan and implement Upper School and schoolwide initiatives. Service is an important tool for the development of ethical student leaders. Through developing service projects, students learn how to raise awareness, speak passionately and articulately, and motivate and inspire others. 
    Upper School students also work with the director of service-learning and experiential education to find meaningful off-campus opportunities that match their interests and talents. Their individual service reinforces responsibility, generosity and dependability. The service requirement is not hours-based; the focus is on LJCDS’s ethos of empathy and dignity as it is integrated into classes. This allows students the independence and flexibility to explore their passions.

    Experiential Education Week and service trips during spring break and summer have been a mainstay of the program. Students have learned from and worked with local and global nonprofits in Louisiana, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, Tanzania and more.

Philanthropy Partners

In addition to learning the importance and value of giving back to the community and volunteering, our students learn the process of donating funds. The Philanthropy Partners program teaches students about the integral role that philanthropy plays in bettering the community and the world at large. 

Serving as a philanthropic board, students conduct extensive research then evaluate, analyze and interview local nonprofits. Thoughtful discussions are held on the impact of a donation before a vote is taken to determine the nonprofit recipient. 

While critically engaging with local nonprofits through research and interviews, students discover that intent and impact must match for organizations to make the biggest difference. 

The program is offered in fourth grade in collaboration with Design & Innovation, as an elective for Grades 7–8, and as a Flex Time option for Grades 10–12.
Participating in Philanthropy Partners transformed my perception and awareness about how nonprofit organizations function. I learned about the different careers within the nonprofit industry, the variety of ways nonprofits operate in communities, and the many factors to consider when assessing nonprofit organizations.”

Natalie Pellette, Class of 2019

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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