Service Learning

Above all else, Gilman School seeks to help boys grow into men of character. We believe that the qualities of honor, leadership, dedication, and service to others must be emphasized and reinforced through all aspects of the school community.Gilman School Mission

Boys at all ages participate in community service projects, collecting non-perishable food items for the Donald Bentley Food Pantry and toys and clothing to benefit Metro Kidz and Our Daily Bread, making peanut butter sandwiches for the homeless, shooting baskets in Hoops for Habitat, reading books to raise money for various charitable organizations, supporting the annual American Red Cross Blood Drive, or participating myriad other activities throughout the school year.

The Lower School raises more than $25,000 through its yearly Read-a-Thon. The Middle School requires that students complete 20 community service hours during their three years in that division. In the Upper School, each student must complete a minimum of 50 successive hours of consistent involvement in one community service project outside of Gilman as a requirement for graduation.


Raised through annual Lower School Read-a-thon



community service hours required for Middle School boys


successive hours in one outside project required for Upper School boys

Ongoing Projects

Donald Bentley Food Pantry

Throughout the course of each academic year, Gilman conducts various food drives to support the Donald Bentley Food Pantry, with major efforts at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Lower School has adopted the Donald Bentley Food Pantry as an ongoing community service project. The Bentley Pantry, founded by friend A.J. Julius '91 and mother Ellen Bentley, memorializes alumnus Donald Bentley '88, who was murdered in Baltimore.

Lunches for the Homeless

Lunches for the Homeless is a weekly student-run program in which students make sandwiches for the homeless. An Upper School student leader purchases all the necessary supplies and organizes 10-15 boys to take time from their Wednesday afternoon study halls to make the sandwiches, which he then transports to Our Daily Bread for distribution. Additionally, the Gilman food service donates their daily surpluses, which also are transported to Our Daily Bread.

Christopher's Place Employment Agency

Christopher's Place is a program run by Catholic Charities that provides homeless men with 18 months of transitional housing, job training, interviewing skills, job placement, and assistance in finding permanent housing. On the first Friday of every month, 10 Gilman students and their parents prepare the evening meal, serve the residents, and eat dinner with them. Gilman's involvement in the program began last year, and while there was some rotation in the student participation, there is a core group of boys who attend almost every month.

Academic Programs

A key strategic goal is to find areas in the curriculum to seamlessly integrate service learning at age-appropriate levels, ensuring that our students not only participate in community service, but also understand the importance of community service in their lives and the lives of others.

Urban Education Class

The Upper School Urban Education class includes real-world experience working with inner-city middle school students at the Paca School. In late winter-early spring the Gilman students are instructed on how to tutor the Paca School students for standardized tests. Once or twice a week for four weeks they travel to Paca to tutor the middle-schoolers in their classrooms, gaining first-hand knowledge of what an urban education entails. After the tutoring ends, they return to their classroom at Gilman to study education policy and the politics surrounding urban education. The tutoring allows them to inform their in-class learning with their experience in a real urban classroom.

Pre-Algebra Class

Middle School Math teacher and Director of Community Service Donell Thompson incorporates service learning into the statistics section of his 7th grade pre-algebra class. Mr. Thompson first asks his students to estimate what they think the prevalence of "food insecurity" is in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, the State of Maryland, and the nation. (Food Security is the ability of a household to feel confident in feeding family members every day, without resorting to emergency food sources or other extraordinary measures to meet basic food needs. Food insecurity is the reverse). Mr. Thompson and math teacher Shonique Alexander then provide the class with real data on food insecurity. The class finds the variants, graphs them by district, and discusses measures of combating the problem. For six weeks after spring break they make lunches for the homeless, which are delivered to Paul's Place. The boys participate in the delivery so they can see the neighborhood first-hand. Their final project is to write to their elected officials telling them what they as a class have done, and asking the representatives what they plan to do. By integrating service learning into the class curriculum, Mr. Thompson and Ms. Alexander make both statistics and service learning more relevant for the boys.

Boys in Action


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Volunteer Opportunities
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Learn more about student requirements, partner organizations and scheduled opportunities in each division.

Learn More

To learn more about community service at Gilman or explore ways our boys can support community efforts, please contact our director of community service.

donell thompson '91

Director of Community Service
ext. 620