Community and Service

Often, when I am leading Community Meeting I ask about relationships among the different Quaker Values.  For example, I might ask, “What is the relationship between Equality and Community.”
When we had Meeting for Community to kick off today’s service day, we sat outside in a nearby park, surrounded by the community we had planned to serve that day.  I thought about it but didn’t ask aloud the question, “What is the relationship between community and service.”
But today’s service day showed so many ways in which each serves the other. We did three distinct activities, each of which highlights the relationships between these. Kids did a trash clean-up, of the very community spaces that we use daily for lunch and recess.  The school’s parent community came together to bring in an overflowing amount of groceries to donate to the Marjory Kovler Center for Refugees, and we decorated bags, filled them, and walked them over.  In doing so, we did a small part to welcome new Americans into Chicago, and grow our American Community.  Finally, we built and filled a planter for the back of the school.  Our middle schoolers’ math challenge provided the design, but a friend of a parent donated the wood, and a parent let us use a community woodshop to build the planter.  When delivered back to school, younger students, parents, and grandparents filled it with soil.  When it is finally planted, it will brighten up that corner of Magnolia avenue — for the whole community to enjoy.
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Karen Carney

is the head of school. Karen’s career demonstrates a rich and diverse set of skills: project oversight, curriculum development, educator training and mentoring, and classroom instruction. Prior to coming to Chicago Friends School, she worked as a senior specialist in science curriculum for American Institutes for Research. Before this, she oversaw educational programming at the Adler Planetarium, first as its director of education and then as associate vice president for visitor experience and learning. She has also worked in instruction and teacher development at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Learning Sciences Research Institute and has authored more than 20 scholarly papers, book chapters, and conference presentations.

Karen is an active, dedicated Friend (Quaker) and has held various leadership positions at the Evanston Friends Meeting. She enjoys baking, cooking, and painting and is a member of the Playmation improv comedy team.