Cultivating Service as a Lifelong Passion
November 6, 2019
For Isabella (Bella) Snow, class of 2020 at Hutchison School, service to the Memphis community doesn’t take a break. In fact, when she heard that a service project in a local elementary school had been discontinued, she saw the value it would have for the young girls at the school and decided to jump-start the project again.
Over the past two years, Bella has led the “Girls in Pearls” service project, teaching etiquette and life skills to fourth grade girls. She started by collaborating with school administrators to find out their needs and target areas of focus. She eagerly planned out the project and strategically improved it by incorporating more interactive activities, including interviewing skills, dressing for success, social media etiquette, table manners, bullying prevention, health, fitness, and philanthropy. She also arranged excursions to restaurants to give the girls opportunities to apply what they had learned.
“I have grown so much through my service leadership projects,” Bella said. “Teaching the girls has been a wonderful experience, but it’s also helped me develop academically and personally. Many of the relationships have been truly symbiotic.”
Through Hutchison Serves, a program housed under Hutchison’s comprehensive co-curricular leadership department, Hutchison girls have the opportunity to serve the community while establishing and maintaining meaningful connections with individuals and organizations throughout the calendar year. Hutchison Serves was created by a generous gift from alumna Kirby Dobbs Floyd (class of 1982) and her husband Glenn Floyd. The goal of Serves is to facilitate service-learning activities for all Hutchison girls – from early childhood (starting at age 2) through senior year in upper school. Bella was the 2019 recipient of the Kirby Dobbs and Glenn Floyd Excellence in Service Scholarship Award.
The Hutchison Serves program cultivates the service learning model by combining community service with learning objectives, preparation, and reflection. Structural components include meaningful service through community engagement and sustainable relationships. Overall, the goal of service learning is to connect communities from various backgrounds through common experiences.
In addition to volunteering for service hours, Hutchison girls can partner with various community organizations to create sustainable service projects through the Wilson Society, established by the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation. The Wilson Society encourages the girls to create individual service projects based on issues they are passionate about in the Memphis community. As the 2019-2020 Wilson Society co-president, Bella took on the Girls in Pearls project in addition to an established Wilson Society project she was working on.
In addition to maintaining sustainable projects throughout the entire school year, Bella encourages her peers to venture out and explore service opportunities during academic breaks, such as fall break. “Not having schedule restrictions provides endless possibilities to engage in meaningful service over during breaks,” she said. She added that while continuous and sustainable service projects are the overarching goal, breaks are an ideal time to think beyond yourself and engage in service for others. “Choosing servant leadership as an alternative to taking time off or vacationing often ignites a passion for service and discovering the importance of giving beyond yourself.”
Bella Snow truly has a heart for service and desires to make a positive impact on her community.
About the Author
Tonya Faulkner is the director of the Hutchison Serves program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, from the University of Tennessee, Martin and a Master of Arts in Teaching, Instruction, and Curriculum Leadership, from The University of Memphis. Throughout her 14-year tenure as a professional educator, Mrs. Faulkner has been recognized as a News Channel 3 WREG Educator of the Week and among the top 5% of educators in Tennessee.