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A superb education is much more than knowledge gained within the walls of a classroom. Service to our community helps develop our students’ realization of their ability to act as contributing and positive members of their community, both within and outside of Westmark.

In addition, service learning provides opportunities to build leadership
experiences, develop creative talents, and increase awareness of the world at large. Students may even explore career paths as a result of volunteer involvement and thoughtful reflection.


Caritas Community Service Award

A major component of the Westmark's Upper School Service Learning program, Caritas is a service-based honor that recognizes, encourages, and rewards extraordinary service performed both outside and within our school community. 

Caritas is a Latin term meaning loving kindness towards others. It is linked to the generosity and helpfulness one extends to another; the act of self-sacrifice for the good of others; genuine charity motivated by love.

Students honored with Westmark's Caritas Award exhibit these qualities, exemplify these values, and demonstrate a commitment to service and justice.

To earn service credit toward Caritas awards, students must volunteer with a non-profit organization that provides services to underserved or in-need populations. Service that is required to earn status or fulfill a requirement for a class or another organization (Eagle Scout, place of worship, community club) is generally not accepted. The service must reflect true volunteerism. Students must engage in a specific service event or activity to earn service credit.

Goals of the Westmark Service Learning Program

  • To shape young adults who possess strong personal values and who understand the importance and benefit of helping others.
  • To develop leadership and teamwork skills.
  • To build relationships with non-profit organizations and the outside community.
  • To fine tune unique talents and interests.
  • To uphold the principles of community involvement and thoughtful action.
  • To learn how to effectively engage with the complex global society.

Westmark integrates service learning in each grade level’s curriculum.

Service opportunities will be age appropriate in breadth and depth. During school hours, each grade level will have a chance to prepare for and learn about their service learning project, perform their service, and debrief and discuss their experiences. We want to ensure that 100% of our staff and students are involved in service to our Los Angeles community and beyond.

Specific service learning projects will be highlighted at the beginning of the year, however we also want to be ready to extend our services should any pressing need present itself during the year. We also strongly encourage students and families to inquire within their own community, church, synagogue, scout groups, YMCA, local hospitals, food collection agencies, etc…to see what opportunities are available. Some of the richest experiences are those that a family does together.

Community Service Requirements & Recommendations


(per year)
(per year)
9th / 10th 10 Hours 30 Hours > 50 Hours
11th / 12th 15 Hours 45 Hours > 100 Hours

* Hours are accumulated on a calendar year (ex. May 01, 2018 - April 30, 2019)

* All Hours must be submitted by April 30, 2019

Service Learning Opportunities & Ideas


  • Donate old clothes or household goods that are still in good condition and donate them to your local Goodwill or Woman's shelter.
  • Donate children’s books, novels, and other reading materials to shelters, libraries, and schools.
  • Write a letter to your Congressman about an issue that you care about.
  • Collect unused makeup and perfume to any women’s shelter or center for abused women.
  • The next time you go grocery shopping, pick up some non-perishables to donate to your local food bank.

Skill-based Volunteer Ideas

  • Become a volunteer tutor. If you excel in a particular subject, share that knowledge with other teens that are struggling. Volunteer your services online non-profit or let your teachers know that you’re available to other students.
  • Got a big vocabulary and a little time to kill? Test your skill on They’ll donate 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme for every answer you get right.
  • Volunteer to give music lessons to people in your community

One day Volunteer Events

  • Participate in a clean up of a beach, riverbed or local park.
  • Organize a car wash and donate the profits to any charity of your choice.
  • Students Run LA
    Offer your help taking registrations, handing out water bottles, cleaning up after, or other administrative tasks for a run. It might not feel as glamorous, but this volunteer work is actually really helpful! To sign up contact Paul at (818)654-3360 or by email at
    Think you’re too old to collect candy, but still want to dress up? Collect money for a charitable organization like UNICEF, and no one will judge you.

Weekly Volunteer Opportunities

  • Volunteer at your local library
  • Help an adult learn how to read
  • Tutor a neighbor or classmate

Group Volunteer Work


  • Offer to Nanny or Babysit for free to a family in need.
  • Become a mentor for a younger child.
  • Bring new or lightly used toys to a children’s hospital. (Children’s Hospital LA, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital)
  • Coach a sport you love, to a youth team.
  • Give free music lessons to children in Schools
  • Babysit children during a WPA meeting.
  • Organize a reading hour for children at a local school or library.
  • Milk and Bookies
    Spread the love of reading to those who can’t afford books of their own. For more info call (323) 863-5742 or email 144815th St. Suite #202 Santa Monica, CA 90404.
  • My Stuff Bags Foundation
    Help fill duffels, make blankets, re-package special large donations or make toiletry bags for children who have been pulled out of their homes. Contact Emily Appleby at (818) 865-3860 5347 Sterling Center Drive, Westlake Village, CA 91361 or visit for more info.
  • Arts For Kids
    Offering kids after school arts programs. Contact Amy Knutson at (310) 586-1017. 1728 Abbot Kinney Blvd., #101, Venice CA 9029


  • Offer to rake leaves, shovel the walk, or do housework for an elderly neighbor.
  • Visit a retirement home and spend time doing fun activities with the elderly who lack immediate family.
  • Make Birthday cards for the Elderly.
  • Ask residents at a Retirement home to tell you about their lives.
  • Jewish Home of the Aging
    Sing or play music to the elderly (Jewish Home of the Aging contact Stacy Orbach at (818) 757-4442 or
  • ONEgeneration
    Share your talents and skills with the elderly. Call (818) 708-6668 or email for more information.


  • Volunteer with animals. Check out your local rescue league, ASPCA chapter, or animal shelter to learn how. (Check age requirement).
  • Offer to Dog-sit/Walk someone’s dog for free.
  • Clean up a local dog park.
  • Build and set up a birdhouse.
  • Train your pet to be a therapy animal and bring it to hospitals or nursing homes
  • Ace of Hearts
    Volunteers engage their passion for animals into much assistance. Call (310) 358-3344 or email to volunteer.

Homeless & Poverty

  • Volunteer on Thanksgiving Day with your whole family. Serve a meal, in your home or in a local shelter, to someone who needs it.
  • Donate blankets to a Homeless Shelter
  • Prepare a home-cooked meal for the residents of a nearby homeless shelter
  • Make first aid kits for homeless shelters
  • Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
  • Bake a batch of cookies or loaf of bread and deliver it to a soup kitchen.
  • Project Chicken Soup
    For more info call (310) 836-5402 or email P.O. Box 480241 Los Angeles, CA 90048



To kick off the school year Upper School students ventured to Pali Institute for some solid bonding.  The overnight retreats, designed to take students out of their daily environments to experience the challenge of navigating a new and natural environment, outside the structured setting of the classroom.  The retreats enabled our students to build relationships and self-confidence. Students, both new and returning, build community and camaraderie with their teachers and each other through small group workshops, hiking, high-ropes courses, service projects, campfires, and team-building activities.
Team-building activities encourage students to work together to create and execute a plan to achieve a common goal. 


X-periods are student-led and interest-based electives.

Each semester, Upper School students work with Upper School faculty to create and develop weekly elective programs based on collective interests and expertise.

X-periods provide opportunities for students to take on leadership positions as well as opportunities for students to do things at school that they enjoy and build on their strengths. Each Thursday from 12:26 to 1:38 p.m., we will have an X-Period in the Upper School. X-periods are held weekly on Thursdays.



At Westmark, we know that education is not confined to the classroom.

An essential part of our school experience is to guide students to better understand their community, while also discovering how they best interact and work within that community.


The WestLAB program provides an opportunity for students to spend a day immersing themselves in real life, real time operations, as well as engage in highly specialized college activities. The take away for our students will be a better understanding of what the given field is all about, the real life requirements to be successful in those fields, and some insight into the path one must take to get there. Exposure and practice in these environments will help them discover their passion in a vocation or field of interest, and will be especially useful in shaping their college, career or vocational choices.

WestLAB trips are optional experiences for all Upper School students. Students may choose to participate depending on their interest and consent from their parent guardians and academic counselors.