The RCDS Community Engagement Fellowship Program
The Community Engagement Fellowship Program at Rye Country Day School enables RCDS Upper School students to partner with a community organization to develop and implement innovative, sustainable projects that address the needs of the organization.
The Upper School students who are accepted as Community Engagement Fellows spend the summer completing their service projects at community partner organizations with funding provided by the RCDS community. This allows community organizations to benefit from the students' enthusiasm and passion at no cost, and it enables Upper School students from all socioeconomic backgrounds with a commitment to public purpose to participate.
Launched in 2016 with a $50,000 grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, which was matched by donations from the Rye Country Day School community, the program was conceived out of a recognition of the importance of purpose-driven citizenship. The E. E. Ford Foundation grant funded the program for four successful years, concluding in the summer of 2019, and generous support of anonymous donors has enabled Rye Country Day to extend the program for an additional year.
The program's goal is to offer summer service opportunities for students and to foster ongoing partnerships between RCDS and local community organizations. Fellows collaborate with community partner organizations and RCDS faculty members on all phases of their projects (faculty offer cross-disciplinary guidance as the fellows chart their paths to active community engagement). Community and academic partnerships are at the heart of this program, and a commitment to service is the fellows' guiding principle as they bring together innovation, hard work, interdisciplinary thought, awareness, empathy, and decision-making skills to propose, design, and implement impressive purpose-driven projects.
The Community Engagement Fellowship Program grew out of the Public Purpose Initiative, and it affirms the RCDS motto of Not for Self, but for Service as it nurtures students' potential to lead lives of meaningful community engagement. It has been inspiring to watch our students make outstanding contributions to their organizations. They are exemplary representatives of the School's deep commitment to public purpose and service. We greatly appreciate the generous support of the Edward E. Ford Foundation and the RCDS community that have made this inspiring program possible.