Summer Slearn: HM's First-Ever Summer Service-Learning Program


The CCVA recently led a 3-day Summer Service-Learning program, known as "Summer Slearn" for HM students interested in learning about more service-learning opportunities. Students heard from Horace Mann alums Anthony and Paul Ramirez, who introduced students to their company, Mainland Media, whose mission is to spread their pride and love for all that the Bronx has to offer. Margaret Della and Dan Eudene, Executive Directors of Kingsbridge Heights Community Center and Riverdale Neighborhood House, respectively, also came to speak with the students about settlement houses and what their community centers offer the neighborhoods they serve. Students also learned about "Asset-Based and Needs-Based Community Development" and practiced asset-mapping to address a community issue. There was also a discussion around Traditional v. Critical Service-Learning, where students discussed the pros and cons of having a social justice component to service-learning. Finally, a trip to the Henry Ittleson Center, introduced students to The Jewish Board's residential treatment facility for children with severe emotional issues. In the future, the CCVA is hoping to provide more service-learning opportunities like this one, where students can work towards their Service-Learning Requirement in the summer, or simply continue their service-learning experiences in the summer months. 

Horace Mann School and Riverdale Senior Services Celebrate Together

For the past six years Horace Mann School students have been part of the lives of dozens of older people living in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Through the School’s Center for Community Values and Action (CCVA) and its Service-Learning teams, HM has developed a powerful partnership with Riverdale Senior Services (RSS), as students engage in a vibrant exchange with participants in RSS programs. From their weekly HM student-initiated discussion groups on literature, art and history, to their classes in gardening, music and art, the seniors and teens enjoy an invigorating relationship throughout the school year.  

Horace Mann School was thus the perfect host for the organization’s annual “Solstice Celebration” which, this year, also marked the rebranding of the agency from “Riverdale Senior Services” which is entering its 45th year of service, to “RSS, The Center for Ageless Living.” As guests from throughout HM’s neighboring Bronx community entered the School’s Cohen Dining Commons on the beautiful evening of June 20, 2018 they were greeted by poster-kiosks describing the many programs to assist seniors achieve health and wellness, participate in exercise, arts and educational initiatives, access counseling, overcome isolation, as well as programs providing day activities for adults with early memory loss, support for caregivers, and many more activities and resources. Several posters underlined RSS’ Vision Statement of being “a non-profit agency that champions older adults and their friends and families through (our) wellness approach, and in every aspect of operations and facilities.” Also highlighted was the RSS emphasis on “ageless living” through the David Bowie quote: “Aging is a process where you become the person you were always meant to be.”  

RSS Board members, administrators and staff, honorees and guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, drinks, dinner and warm conversation, as HM alum Stephanie Chou ’05 and her jazz ensemble, the Stephanie Chou Project, entertained with jazz classics. Horace Mann Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly, who is also on the RSS Board, welcomed the guests, and described how deeply connected HM is with the organization through the partnership developed with the CCVA, and through many personal connections. Heralding the new direction for RSS and the vital role the organization plays in the community, Dr. Kelly encouraged guests to participate in the auction and fundraising events of the evening. Honored at the 44th Anniversary Solstice Celebration event were Carlos Beato, former CEO of Schervier-Bon Secours who was instrumental in securing funds for a major renovation of RSS facilities. Also honored was Julia Schwartz-Leper, RSS Executive Director for the past 12 years, with whom the CCVA first connected, and initiated its program of student-led afternoon workshops.

Senior Slearn: The Final Reflection


The 2018 Horace Mann School season of graduations and commemorative ceremonies saw a new tradition added to the end-of-year calendar when graduating students gathered for a final Service-Learning Team Reflection.

Service-learning has been a part of Horace Mann School since 2006 and the founding, by Dr. Jeremy Leeds ’72, of the School’s Center for Community Values and Action (CCVA). This model emphasizes an ongoing relationship with the partner or organization served, that yields a learning experience for the students involved, as well as positive results for the community. While community service has long been a part of HM, for the past 12 years Upper Division students have engaged in and even launched a variety of continuing programs benefitting children, older adults, the environment and institutions in HM’s surrounding Bronx neighborhoods, as well as other parts of the Tri-State region. Some students engage in service and advocacy efforts on an international level. Service-Learning became an integral and required part of HM’s Upper Division curriculum four years ago, with over 750 students involved in the 2017-2018 school year. However, the Class of 2018 was the first-ever to engage in service-learning throughout high school, from ninth-through-twelfth grade.


Individual and group reflections are an essential part of service-learning and Service-Learning Team work at HM, giving students a chance to learn from the experience, evaluate their efforts, restructure their work if needed, and share their experiences with one another and with their faculty advisors. However, the reflection session held on May 22, 2018 that brought the entire senior class together provided an opportunity to look back over the past four years of service-learning, in which each of the students had been involved, and to pause for a moment of appreciation of all they had done with one another. The “SLearn” event—now the nickname for HM’s service-learning efforts—brought the seniors into the Cohen Dining Commons (CDC) for refreshments and to hear from Dr. Leeds, Horace Mann Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly, and Service-Learning student leaders about the impact that service-learning has had on HM and on the institutions with which the students are involved. The seniors then broke up into smaller groups in classrooms in Rose Hall to discuss with one another in detail what they, themselves, had learned through their experiences over the last four years. The event, which was coordinated by CCVA Fellow Helen Feldman ’10, then saw the students return to the CDC for some final thoughts by advisors and SL Team leaders, and to partake of a celebratory cake.


Dr. Leeds began the evening by recalling with the students a day four years earlier, on December 11, 2014, when service-learning was a new concept to these students—then in ninth grade. It was on that day that they were first introduced to the service-learning requirement, as they visited a variety of our partner neighborhood centers, and even worked clearing brush in Van Cortlandt Park on this wet winter day. On view throughout the SLearn evening was a presentation of  images depicting the students’ younger selves during that first visit to the different sites. The images provided a sharp contrast to those shown four years later by several student speakers who described projects they had initiated and pursued, as they became more involved in service-learning, and more confident about sharing their abilities as teachers, musicians, artists, robotics instructors, social activists and more with others.

HuMANNitarian Student Spotlight - Chloe B.!


Happy Tuesday! We're thrilled to continue our new student spotlight series with our very own Chloe B. (12)! Read through our short interview with Chloe below to learn more about her, why she loves service, and what "SLEARN" means to her!


What’s one fun fact about you?

I got a ukulele for my last birthday and am teaching myself how to play by watching an excess of Youtube tutorials.

 Favorite subject in school?

I’d say that my favorite subject would be psychology or English. I enjoy how both involve close analysis and how both examine the human experience. I enjoy that both of these classes are conversation based and interactive.

How many trimesters have you been a part of the Service-Learning Team or HM 246?

This fall trimester (concluding next week) was my 7th trimester on the Service-Learning Team.

What site do you work with? What activity?

I work with P.S. 37 and the activity I take part in is music.

Discuss what your favorite activity has been that you’ve led during your time on the Service-Learning Team or HM 246?

If I had to pick one specific activity that I’ve led of which I  enjoyed the most, I would probably choose teaching the kids how to play simple songs on the xylophones. Seeing the concept of scale click in them, and then watching them apply this concept to the act of playing the xylophone, was really special to watch. I love the fact that they are so excited and satisfied with themselves when they nail the task.

How do you engage with service outside of HM?

In and out of school I work in support of cancer awareness, promoting the cause and its importance, as well as building allies for those fighting.

What do you hope to study in college? What is your ideal job?

In college, I hope to continue studying psychology, as well as other subjects under the broader “humanities umbrella” such as philosophy and sociology. I don’t know yet what I want to do when I’m older, but I know that I’d love it to combine my love for service with my interest in psychology and the human experience. There are many different jobs where I could be working with people in a meaningful way, and I hope to streamline exactly what I want to do during my college years.

What does Service-Learning mean to you?

Service-Learning is such an important part of my life and has undoubtedly changed my perspective on what it means to be part of a community. Participating in service-learning made me come to the conclusion that I want to make an impact in each community I reside in, versus standing idly by waiting for someone else to improve the community. Service-learning has given me the opportunity to interact with people that I never would have interacted with, and forming those connections, I believe, has made me a more wholesome person.

HuMANNitarian Student Spotlight - Gabrielle R.!

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Happy Tuesday! We're so honored to initiate our new student spotlight series with our very own Gabi R. (12)! Read through our short interview with Gabi below to learn more about her, why she loves service, and what "SLEARN" means to her!



What’s one fun fact about you?

I was in a Golden Globe nominated movie when I was eight years old.

Favorite subject in school?

My favorite subject in school is psychology. I love studying the way the mind works, and seeing the applications of this class in real life.

How many trimesters have you been a part of the Service-Learning Team or HM 246?

This will be my 10th trimester (!!!) on the team :)

What site do you work with? What activity?

I work with Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. I have actually never been to another site; all 10 trimesters have been spent at KHCC. I also currently work with Computer Coolness. Computer Coolness is a STEM group that runs only out of KHCC and has activities based only on computer science.

Discuss what your favorite activity has been that you’ve led during your time on the Service-Learning Team or HM 246?

My favorite activity I have led in my time on Slearn is Computer Coolness. I have loved getting to see this activity evolve and seeing how excited KHCC-goers are about getting to learn via the iPads.

How do you engage with service outside of HM?

Outside of HM, I am involved with Ashita-Tomorrow, a non-profit organization that supports high school students affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami as they pursue their goals. I am also involved with Operation Prom and the service opportunities within my temple.

What do you hope to study in college? What is your ideal job?

In college I hope to study the integration of language, computer-science and psychology. My dream job today, emphasis on TODAY (it differs by the day), is a product manager at Google.

What does Service-Learning mean to you?

To me, Service-Learning means engaging with the broader world and forming connections. I see Slearn as a means to merge and create new communities across zip codes, cultures, schools, etc. Slearn revolves around bridging gaps and bringing people together.

HuMANNitarian is Back!

Everyone here at the Center for Community Values & Action are thrilled to announce the return of Horace Mann School's most prominent service-learning publication, the HuMANNitarian!  In an attempt to preserve the environment, reduce paper usage, and open up new possibilities as a publication, we've revived HuMANNitarian through an online platform!

Welcome back to school and let's get off to a great year!  Go Lions!