Since June of 2022, a group of Guild School students have spent each Monday morning working at Hale Education, a scenic, 1100-acre network of trails and swimming areas. During their shift, students roll up their sleeves and make an impact on Hale’s trail beautification, cabin maintenance, and firewood clearing projects. All students are paid each week for their efforts.
Laurel Simpson, The Guild’s Admissions Manager who previously served as a Speech-Language Pathologist, initiated the partnership.
“When I started in my role at The Guild, I wanted to marry community skills and engagement with potential vocational opportunities. There’s so much benefit to getting outside and exploring nature, so I thought Hale would be the perfect partnership for us to build,” said Laurel.
Laurel invited Hale’s Director of Operations, Tyler Simpson, to visit The Guild and lead a workshop on interview skills. Upon completion of the lesson, he offered each student the opportunity to interview with him before beginning their weekly work shifts.
Students were successful during the interview process, and Laurel said that she appreciated the flexibility of Hale staff in providing students with appropriate accommodations. “There was one student for whom interviewing in-person would be a challenge, so Hale accommodated by offering to host the interview via Zoom,” explained Laurel. “I helped scaffold the questions and she completed the interview successfully.”
Thanks to their hard work and the staffing support of The Guild’s Education and Clinical teams, Guild School students have kept up their Monday commitment for nearly a year and a half. In September of 2023, students were recognized with the Volunteer of the Year award during Hale’s annual Fall Equinox party that gathered Hale’s staff, Board, and community partners.
“The partnership with The Guild has been wonderful. Each week, we have a great group of students that come and help us tackle projects that we often don’t have time to get to, but make a big difference,” said Tyler. “It has been a pleasure hosting and engaging with the students and teachers over the past few years.”
Last summer, all Guild School students who participated in the Hale program enjoyed an afternoon of swimming and a barbecue on the beach. Staff have also participated in team-building events at the reservation. Laurel says she’d like to be able to host more programming and events at Hale in the future, including an overnight camping trip tentatively scheduled for this spring.
“We’re excited about the potential of hosting more community-building days and events at Hale,” said Laurel. “Moving forward, our goal is to be able to accommodate all students who would like to get involved with work at Hale. We’ve gotten great feedback from students and families alike, so we’d love to open up this opportunity to as many as we can.”
About Hale Education:
Hale Education, Inc. is a private nonprofit widely recognized for its flagship camps, youth programs, family and community activities, school partnerships, and professional development opportunities. Hale serves several thousand children and families from 70 Greater Boston communities annually and invites visitors to enjoy their 1100+ acres of forests, ponds, and meadows in Westwood and Dover, MA.