Program » Service Learning

Service Learning

A vital part of each child's education is participation in grade level and school-wide community service projects. In fact, the school’s motto – Serve • Lead • Flourish – makes it clear that service to others is a high priority at St. Matthew’s. Through this work, students reflect on their responsibility to serve in the community as a grateful response to God’s love for them and develop the habit of doing something for someone else. The School serves a wide-variety of programs and organizations throughout the Westside of Los Angeles and beyond, making efforts to complement classroom studies and Parish Outreach efforts. Every class participates in community-based service commitment as well as school-wide service activities led by our student government or specific grade levels. Starting young with simple age-appropriate activities like hosting same-age students for a morning of play or beach clean up days with Heal the Bay, to sponsoring food drives and preparing lunches for the homeless at middle school grades, students culminate their experiences with an 8th Grade Service Learning Project done independently at a local organization of their choice. Being of service to others allows students to see themselves as capable helpers and to act upon the empathy we nurture in them.

Early Childhood

Preschool partners with the children of The Early Learning Center of St. Joseph’s Center, a bilingual “dual-immersion” high-quality childcare program for toddlers and pre-K children, with mutual visits to celebrate the seasons.



Kindergarten cares for others including holding lemonade stands to raise funds for our friends at St. Paul’s School in Haiti and visiting the elderly for a Valentine’s Day “Sweethearts Concert” at the WISE and Healthy Aging Adult Day Service Center in Santa Monica.  


First Grade

From “Bubs” the class bear, to the annual Teddy Bear picnic, to animal reports in the Spring, animals are central to our First Grade social studies program. To complement these studies, their Service Learning project is a recycling drive. Proceeds are donated to Episcopal Relief and Development's "Gifts for Life" animal program, which helps alleviate hunger around the world.


Second Grade

Second Grade social studies explores natural habitats including the ocean and rain forests, and they serve as leaders for the school's relationship with Heal the Bay, with three opportunities for students to help clean up our local beach.


Third Grade

In coordination with their Africa unit in social studies, Third Grade students raise money through a read-a-thon to purchase mosquito nets to combat the spread of malaria. The class partners with GAIA (Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance), which works in the rural villages of southern Malawi, where there are virtually no health services available.


Fourth Grade

In order to develop an understanding of the problem of local hunger, Fourth Grade students support the work of the Westside Food Bank, a warehouse that distributes food to sixty-five social service organizations on the Westside of Los Angeles. Issues of global hunger are explored alongside studies in science about nutrition, with funds raised to support our work in Haiti through Episcopal Relief and Development’s sustainable gardening ventures.


Fifth Grade

In the Fifth Grade students develop a relationship with Second Grade children from Saint Anne School, a Roman Catholic School in Santa Monica where a many of the families live below the poverty line.  Mutual visits and a joint book writing project help foster the relationship between students. The Fifth Grade also helps support the Saint Anne Second Grade classroom through bake sales that raise funds to enhance their partners' classroom.  


Sixth Grade

QUEST is the new project based learning program in the Sixth Grade that explores water issues in the present, the past, and seeks to explore solutions for the future.  As part of this exploration, students participate in Heal the Bay activities alongside their Second Grade buddies as well as raise awareness about water issues within our student body.  Science class solar oven projects offer an opportunity for a "cook off" where the proceeds benefit We Care Solar.  The Sixth Grade also supports the work of our St. Matthew's Parish Thrift Shop by serving as part of the Summer Brigade.


Seventh Grade

The focus of Seventh Grade is supporting the needs of the hungry and homeless in our community. As part of their fall retreat, they explore the issues of homelessness and take a field trip to OPCC and the Westside Food Bank. During the year, seventh graders lead the joint parish-school Food Ingathering for the Westside Food Bank and serve meals at OPCC’s shelters and transitional housing projects. Students participate in the full chain of food assistance: donating, sorting, distributing, and serving.


Eighth Grade

The Eighth Grade Service Learning summer project is the students’ opportunity to make a self-initiated difference in the world and to begin living out the school motto of Serve • Lead • Flourish in their own communities.  Students complete nine hours of community service at an organization of their own choosing.  The project challenges the students to get involved in a community that is different from their own, and to recognize their own gifts and how much they have to offer.


Episcopal Schools Partnership in Haiti

In 1984 the National Association of Episcopal Schools recognized the importance of the over 250 Episcopal schools in Haiti that provide quality education to children of all faiths, and remain an anchor of stability and progress in the communities they serve.  As a result, the Partnership Program was born where US and Haitian Schools were linked in long-term cultural and prayerful relationships, as well as providing financial support to ensure the viability of these schools. We currently are partnered with National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., in support of St. Paul’s School in Caracol which is located in the Centre region of Haiti.  St. Paul’s School is on a sunny hillside about a 2 hour hike into the mountains north of the town of Cange.  (Paul Farmer’s Zanmi Lasante Partner’s in Health hospital also is in Cange.)  To learn more about our Partnership:



Community Outreach Partners

Boys & Girls Club

Episcopal Relief and Development

Episcopal Schools Partnership Program/Haiti

Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA)

Heal the Bay

The Neighborhood Youth Association (NYA)

The People Concern (formerly OPCC)

Saint Anne School in Santa Monica

St. Joseph Center

St. Matthew’s Thrift Shop

We Care Solar

Wells of Life

Westside Food Bank

WISE & Healthy Aging Center