Outreach & Public Purpose


Our Purpose in Community service program is largely realized through partnerships with non-profit organizations in New York City. By partnering with these local organizations, we can ensure our students experience hands-on volunteer opportunities that authentically meet the needs of our partner organizations. Our community service learning continues in the classroom and in advisory through curricular units that help our students familiarize themselves with the organization with which they are partnering as well as with the social issue the organization addresses. Every service experience is followed by a reflection activity so that our students internalize how their volunteering impacts the partnership and their community.

Outreach Partners

List of 3 items.

  • Harlem Children's Zone

    We have a long tradition with Harlem Children’s Zone that deepens every year. For many years our Upper School students have volunteered as tutors for HCZ students. In the spring 2015 Spence and the Harlem Children’s Zone launched Code Camp, a Saturday coding program for Grade 2 girls. Ten students and two teachers from Promise Academy I and ten students and two teachers from Spence met on four consecutive Saturdays to learn the coding program Scratch and create games. Beginning in fall 2015 the camp will expand by doubling the number of sessions and offering another four-week session for the twenty third grade students who participated in the program last year. In summer 2016, HCZ and Spence will launch the first summer session of Code Camp.

  • NY Common Pantry

    Spence has a long-standing relationship with New York Common Pantry, a food pantry for the housed and homeless within walking distance of Spence. Our students partner with NYCP in all three divisions, beginning in Kindergarten. In Lower School our students learn about food pantries and the services NYCP provides. Each year they have an opportunity to assist the pantry in some way either through bagging food or hosting toiletry drives. In Grade 7 our students are ready to begin interacting with clients of NYCP by taking their food orders and ensuring they receive the correct order. Many of our Upper School students volunteer with NYCP on the weekends or through their summer internship program.

  • Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center

    Our partnership with Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, a center that serves the elderly and young children on the Upper East Side, happens in all three divisions. Our Lower School students provide companionship for the elderly by putting on a choral concert of jazz standards which concludes with a sing-along. Our Grade 5 students record life histories of the elderly and help to throw monthly birthday parties. Some of our Upper School students work with the young kids by teaching dance classes, and one of our Upper School Chinese classes offers an introductory Mandarin class for the seniors at Stanley Isaacs Center, which is taught by our students.