Giving back to others is one of the primary ways in which FXW honors its namesake, Frances Xavier Warde. Mother Warde was the founder of the American Sisters of Mercy, a religious order devoted to caring for those less fortunate. Students participate in grade-wide projects and the school provides community-wide service opportunities that enable families to engage in service together.
Service learning is integrated into the curriculum at every grade-level. FXW students have more than a one-time experience. From pre-school through eighth grade, students have the opportunity to develop and nurture relationships with those organizations, families and individuals who are the beneficiaries of our students’ acts of service. In each grade, students engage in projects that are appropriate to their social and academic development.
Preschool and kindergarten students participate in “Setting the Thanksgiving Table” for the families of St. Eulalia’s parish in Maywood, Illinois. The students collect enough food to provide a complete Thanksgiving meal for 125 families.
First graders at FXW nurture a relationship with a Catholic Extension Mission School throughout the entire school year. This project culminates with their “Making a Dollar Bill Grow” campaign. The first grade students to go out with $1.00 and engage in service and good deeds to make that $1.00 grow, just like the servants did with the gold coins in The Parable of the Ten Coins. The students donate this money collected to The Catholic Extension Society Mission School.
In conjunction with their year-long theme of special needs, the second graders have several opportunities to visit and work with the residents at Misericordia. During the holiday season, the second graders watch the residents perform in their annual holiday show. During the spring, the second graders run a school-wide post office in which several Misericordia residents help sort and deliver mail and help organize money. The money that the second graders raise goes directly to benefit the programs at Misericordia. The second graders also visit Misericordia later in the spring to further nurture their friendship by sharing a meal, playing games and working on craft projects during their visit.
The third graders build and nurture a relationship with the Mercy Sisters of Chicago that teaches them about the mission of Mother Frances Xavier Warde. Third grade students visit the nuns in Chicago and learn about the work they do, and will also invite the nuns to visit them at school. The third grader serve as ambassadors at our annual Mother Warde Day as they help prepare and package the donations collected throughout the entire school. As ambassadors, they also work around the campus to help educate others within our community and foster the idea of service in the name of Mother Warde.
Fourth graders organize and participate in a blanket and pillow drive for the homeless at the Mary and Joseph Shelter in Chicago. The students collect the items from FXW families and then travel to the shelter to deliver the items, make the beds and also bring books to share with the families who stay at the shelter. The students continue to deepen their appreciation of those who are less fortunate and have no place to live.
A short walk takes the fifth graders to Warren Barr Pavilion where the students visit and play games with the senior citizen residents. The weekly visits bridge generations and allow FXW students the opportunity to appreciate the unique gifts of elders in our community. The sixth graders also participate in service in the community near the Holy Name campus. The students visit Catholic Charities and set the table and perform other needed work for the meals served to the hungry and homeless.
The seventh and eighth graders have a goal to complete 15 or 20 service hours, respectively, and have a wide-variety of service opportunities to choose from. Many students build upon the relationships previously developed, and choose to volunteer at Misericordia, serve at homeless shelters, or work with the elderly.
Through these rich and diverse service opportunities, FXW students are taught to appreciate the value of helping others and through these experiences, each student grows in grace, understanding and compassion for those less fortunate and increases in gratitude for the blessings in their own lives.