Social responsibility begins with the understanding that our individual and institutional actions impact our community.

At St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School, social responsibility includes the intersection of our service learning; diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) work, and environmental sustainability. We believe that social responsibility begins with the understanding that our individual and institutional actions impact our community. The concept of social responsibility is firmly rooted in St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes’ Episcopal identity as we strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. At the Lower School, this work begins with the concept of empathy.

In 2017, the Lower School launched the Saints Explore Empathy initiative. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday and beyond, Lower School Saints explore empathy and reflect upon the work and legacy of Dr. King. Throughout his life, Dr. King served others with his words and through his actions. He embodied the concept of social responsibility, which acknowledges “accountability for the impact of one’s choices on the larger world.”

Lower School Saints are encouraged to think about how they can answer Dr. King’s call to service and what they can do for others. In support of this important work, we hosted Jahkil Jackson, a young changemaker. In preparation for this visit, we invited our students, faculty, and families to participate in the 30 Kindness Challenge and share small acts of kindness with others and our community.  

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Our Lower School students brainstormed ideas for small acts of kindness to be included in the 30 Days of Kindness Challenge. This community engagement allowed our students to practice empathy and inclusion while ensuring that each member of the Saints community can find here a place where they can be exactly who they are.

Building on that idea, we started a Saints Share Stories storytelling program. For example, we held an event that centered around stories of Black joy and excellence as part of our recognition of Black History Month. Saints Share Stories is directly connected to the SSSAS enduring understandings of social responsibility, specifically that Saints can understand and learn about experiences that may be different from their own through stories.

Another way to support this work is through our X-days, which are whole days dedicated to exploring a specific topic. At a recent X-day that was focused on empathy and community, a highlight was a visit from teen changemaker, activist, and author Jahkil Jackson, who spoke with Lower School Saints about what it means to be a changemaker and how we can help our community. Jahkil shared his book I Am with children in grades junior kindergarten to third. He also met with the fourth and fifth grades to share his journey as a changemaker. Finally, students filled “Blessing Bags” for a community service project, which was shared with our local community partners including ALIVE