Students leaders help peers provide service opportunities


Photo by Rishi Verma '23

TAKING OUT THE TRASH “I’ve never actually cleaned trash cans before but the House N2 Home leaders were super nice and I think it was great that they were also doing all the same service we were,” said Ben Formicola ‘24 who participated in cleaning up the HouseN2Home headquarters in Ypsilanti.

Rishi Verma '23, School Staff

Over the summer, the service department worked on finding a solution to making service at Greenhills what the institution has always wanted it to be – more meaningful and personal to the students and communities it serves. In previous years, there were various service oriented clubs and events. For example, on Motor City Saturdays,students go to Detroit for additional service. Now, all service at Greenhills is included in the SLICE program.

“The SLICE program aims to make service more enjoyable and personalized to the students by allowing them to pick categories of service they feel they want to make a difference in,” said Equity and Education SLICE lead Meezan Hamzavi ‘23. “Once they’ve been assigned a category, they would be providing service in those categories on the two school service days and offered opportunities in those categories.”

SLICE offers students to be grouped into one of five pathways for service opportunities for the year. The five categories are Community Empowerment, Housing Crisis, Environmental Justice, Equity in Education, and Food Security.

In the upper school, each grade has had two service leaders.

“Though SLICE is a great addition to the community, the grade independent service leaders still have the role of tracking each individual student’s service hours to make sure they fulfill the graduation requirements,” said service leader Pranay Shah ‘23. “Our role is more on the student side of the service, and making sure everyone is on track.”

Students are sent a form at the beginning of the year asking them to rank which of the five pathways they would want to be placed in.

“Once a student is put in a given pathway, the leads for that pathway will organize where those students will go on the two schoolwide service days as well as find communities that they can build lasting relationships with through service,” said SLICE and Housing Crisis lead Fatima Shah ‘23. “For our last service day this fall, the people in my pathway (Housing Crisis) went to House N2 Home.”

House N2 Home is an organization that aims to take empty houses and fill them with furniture and necessities for those who are homeless to then move into.

“We helped clean up the courtyard by raking leaves, built furniture, cleaned trash cans, and organized blankets and dishes,”  said Ally Tan ‘24. “Our work went to House N2 Home turning empty apartments into comfortable living spaces for the less fortunate.It felt good to give back.”

Before the SLICE program, service at Greenhills consisted of two service days: one in the fall and one in the spring. each service day, students would be given various options for things to do, and there was no connection between what type of service students are doing. SLICE aims to allow students to continue to work with the same communities or type of pathway on every service day and or service opportunity so students can feel they’re making a lasting difference.

“Feedback from students over the years showed that our community loves to do service but wanted more opportunity to really connect with the communities they worked with,” said service learning department chair Allysa Friendly. “This led us to introduce SLICE, where we choose five main categories to really focus on and just a few organizations under each category to allow for those connections and bonds to grow between our students and the communities we seek to serve.”

Under the SLICE program, students can access a Google Drive from Gryphon(student portal) where they can sign up for additional service opportunities within the pathway they chose or in a different pathway.

“I’m happy that I got to do service at a community I can come back to even without Greenhills involvement and that I may get to come back and work with the same people on future service days,” said Bennet Formicola ‘24.

The SLICE program, though new, is already changing the way students look at service at Greenhills.

“I’ve always felt like we’ve gone and done service for a couple hours and then that’s it,” said Rayhann Bhalwani ‘24. “With SLICE, it feels like service might actually become more impactful and genuine.”