The Foote School is dedicated to helping its students develop as compassionate and responsible world citizens. The school's service-learning program encourages students to expand their understanding of critical social issues and fosters the ongoing practice of reaching out to others. Each grade at Foote, from Kindergarten through ninth, takes on a special service-learning project, often student-generated and sometimes related to a unit of study.
The Foote community has developed strong relationships with various New Haven-area social service organizations, including St. Ann's Soup Kitchen in Hamden and Columbus House in New Haven, that provide families in need with food, housing and literacy tutoring. Every year a guest speaker from one of these organizations comes to share his or her expertise with students in the Middle School. In addition, the entire Foote community works on two annual all-school efforts to help families and individuals in need. The Community Service Club, with students from grades 4 through 9, helps to support and publicize school-wide efforts while taking on its own service projects.
Foote's Community Service program has contributed to numerous organizations and initiatives.
Support for Columbus House
The eighth grade coordinates the annual Halloween Fair as a fundraiser for Columbus House. Last year's fair raised $1,100 for the organization from ticket sales to student-run haunted houses and fun games like “Win a Teacher” and the dunk tank.
In November, former Foote teacher Betsy Branch, now a senior patient navigator at Columbus House, came to Foote to accept the check and speak to eighth graders about the causes of homelessness. In turn, she presented a certificate of appreciation from Columbus House executive director Alison Cunningham. “I can’t tell you how much this means to us,” Betsy told students. “You guys are doing a big thing that really, really matters.”
For Valentine's Day, Mixed Age Group students collected $5 gift cards for Columbus House so homeless guests have some place to get a bite (and get warm) when the shelter is closed. Students collected 207 cards from Dunkin' Donuts, Subway and McDonald's and presented them to Betsy Branch on a visit to campus. Betsy wrote a thank-you note to MAG families letting them know their efforts made a difference.
"The other night, when the shelter was full, one client was able to go to Dunkin' Donuts and be safe there for a few hours," wrote Betsy. "Another client had to go to a medical appointment and missed the lunchtime soup kitchen; with a gift card, she was able to get something to eat."
Thanksgiving Dinner for the Hungry
Sixth graders spearheaded a schoolwide Thanksgiving Food Drive for St. Ann's Soup Kitchen in Hamden. Foote collected 1,138 cans of yams, cranberries, stuffing and other Thanksgiving fixings, and raised $182 in cash for St. Ann's guests to buy turkeys. Sixth graders loaded the boxes in vans and delivered them to St. Ann's, leaving once-empty storeroom shelves overflowing.
Drive for IRIS
While their classmates were in China, ninth graders Tommy Craft and Thor Illick spent March break working alongside newly arrived refugees as volunteers for New Haven's Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS). Afterward, they coordinated a schoolwide drive to collect soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other toiletries for families who frequently cannot afford such essentials. The students delivered the mountain of supplies to IRIS in April.
Each Monday during the school year, sixth graders serve lunch to clients of St. Ann’s Soup Kitchen, which serves more than 4,000 meals every month to those in need.