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Over the past year and a half, Waldorf schools across North America have committed to community engagement projects ranging from food drives, mural paintings, beach clean-ups, coat drives and more. These projects are all a part of the Waldorf100 Hand in Hand: Community Engagement initiative launched in the Fall of 2019. With this initiative, North American Waldorf Schools and their respective communities bring the themes of social responsibility and environmental stewardship - both core components of a Waldorf education - into the spotlight. 

A few projects of specific note include the Waldorf School of Bend’s commitment to planting 10,000 trees in 2020, the Lakota Waldorf School’s Community Pow Pow, Charlottesville Waldorf School’s coat drive and a beach clean-up bringing a number of Waldorf schools together in southern California.

After the 2017 Milli Fire in the Deschutes National Forest and Three Sisters Wilderness area devastated 24,000 acres of Central Oregon woodland, The Waldorf School of Bend chose to focus on environmental stewardship through their Forest for Good project. Through this initiative, they are empowering their students and community to be catalysts for action to foster a healthy planet.

Turning the focus on to community engagement, the Lakota Waldorf School, located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, held their first ever Pow Wow with the Teca Wacipi Okolakiciye Dance Society along with a number of fellow reservation schools. The Pow Wow’s intention was to build community and connect, and the event included a beekeeping presentation, music, dancing, and speakers from the community all celebrating the Lakota Waldorf School First Nations grant received through the Native Language Immersion Initiative, which supports Native American language-immersion and culture-retention programs. 

Charlottesville Waldorf School chose to focus on a winter coat drive serving a local non-profit organization called International Neighbors. IN welcomes new arrivals to Charlottesville, most of whom are refugees or SIV (Special Immigration Visa). Charlottesville Waldorf students have been knitting and cutting scarves from fleece to add to the school donations, and some students attended an International Neighbors event where they met some of the families in person.

Other notable Hand in Hand projects over this past fall include a beach clean-up in Southern California with students from a number of Waldorf schools including Maple Village Waldorf School, , Pasadena Waldorf School, Waldorf School of Orange County, Sanderling Waldorf School, Waldorf School of San Diego, and the Honolulu Waldorf School. This Hand in Hand community engagement project was part of a collaboration with Hands Across the Ocean. Students from the following schools gathered at their local beaches to clean up pollution contributing to micro plastics contamination:

Together, Waldorf schools across North America are making positive impacts within their community and beyond. These Hand in Hand Community Engagement Projects will continue on through the school year ahead, spreading positive change, benefit and hope across the continent.

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