Just as Harvard-Westlake students pursue a purpose beyond themselves via community service work, the school itself is committed to its own institutional public purpose. Harvard-Westlake has undertaken a wealth of community service initiatives and recently launched a major effort to support a network of public schools here in Los Angeles.
HW COMMUNITY SERVICE INITIATIVES
HW Financial Aid: Harvard-Westlake provides $11 million in aid to more than 300 students in need every year.
Activities Recreation and Care (ARC) Partnership: Harvard-Westlake hosts a winter holiday concert, dance show, and annual fundraiser to benefit this locally based nonprofit for developmentally disabled adults. HW also allows ARC use of its facilities in the summer.
HW Student Community Service: More than 1,500 students from both the middle and upper schools volunteer for a wide range of causes all year round.
HW Community Council: The mission of the upper school’s HW Community Council is to encourage, support, and facilitate each student's involvement in lifelong community service endeavors in order to both address the needs of our greater society and build a stronger school community within, resulting in many student-conceived, student-led service ventures.
HWP Community Service: Harvard-Westlake Parents hosts four community outreach events every year.
HW Athletic Teams Outreach: The boys and girls basketball programs hold fundraisers and volunteer for causes that have included the UCLA Children’s Hospital and the Special Olympics. The varsity football, volleyball, and water polo teams also participate in projects that give back to the community.
Westflix: Founded by faculty at Harvard-Westlake, this high-school student film festival now brings in more than 200 film submissions from all over California.
Righteous Conversations Project: The Righteous Conversations Project brings together Holocaust survivors and teens to speak up about injustice in today’s world through creative new media projects. Launched at Harvard-Westlake in February of 2011, the Project works in partnership with schools and local nonprofits to empower teens in collaboration with Holocaust survivors to imagine and shape a better world.
Digital Storytelling Adventures: Combining adventure travel with hands-on digital storytelling and journalism workshops, Digital Story Adventures empowers HW students to create digital stories (including videos, photos, music, and voiceover) that highlight important topics from around the globe.
Research and Scholarship (Science, Social Studies, and Athletics): Harvard-Westlake has formed partnerships with several institutions and organizations to produce meaningful scholarship. These include a partnership between HW’s middle school and UCLA to conduct a pediatric pain study, a partnership with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to study the health and well-being of HW seventh graders, the middle school’s partnership with the University of Massachusetts and the National Science Foundation, and the upper school history department’s partnership with the Museum of the Holocaust.
HW Global Fellowships for Students: Many HW fellowships focus on service learning.
Harvard-Westlake Center for Teaching and Learning: HWCTL hosts teacher workshops that are also open to the public. Prior topics have included coeducation, diversity and inclusion, and teens’ interaction with digital media and technology.
HW Poetry Festival: Students and faculty gather for one day at Harvard-Westlake to attend workshops, talks by keynote poets, and an open mic at the end. Free admission, transportation, breakfast and lunch are offered to students across Los Angeles.
Studio City Outreach: Harvard-Westlake has partnered with several local organizations, including Tree People, River LA, and CicLAvia.
Service Year Alliance Partnership: Harvard-Westlake is working with Service Year Alliance, a national organization whose mission is to promote civilian service. Service Year Alliance assists students in developing a gap year plan, while Harvard-Westlake offers a fellowship providing additional financial support to those seeking to complete a year of service.
American Red Cross Blood Drive: Harvard-Westlake Parents hosts this annual blood drive for students, faculty, and parents every spring.
HW Venture: HW Venture is an organization that inspires student entrepreneurs to pursue meaningful innovation to solve significant human and social problems. It connects and supports student, alumni, and community changemakers.
HW Give (formerly MS Charity Council): HW Give encourages HW middle school students to plan and execute student fundraisers to benefit local nonprofits and educate and involve the HW student body.
Bright Star Partnership: Harvard-Westlake has partnered with Bright Star Schools to create the free after-school HW Bridge Program at Harvard-Westlake’s middle school campus. Harvard-Westlake teachers teach courses including Beginning Robotics, Greek Mythology, Electronic Music, and Improv. The HW Bridge Program meets twice a week, and the courses, transportation to and from Harvard-Westlake, and a snack and dinner are provided free of charge to selected Bright Star students.