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Annual Philia Project Teaches Lessons in Service

November 9, 2016 by Elaine Rottman

orangesEvery fall and spring, Providence students, from kindergarten through high school, dedicate a day to community service. This event is called the Philia Project. Philia is one of four Greek words for “love” and this project allows students to demonstrate both their love for their school and for their community.  

On Wednesday, November 9, high school students woke up to check election results and then dispersed into the community to learn about and perform community service from 9:30 am – noon. “Service is an important component of our school’s mission,” says Scott Rockney, Upper School principal. “That’s why every year we dedicate time to going out into the Santa Barbara community to serve our neighbors.”

Student life director Hayley Penton plans the projects and all the moving parts of transporting students to the sites. “We want our students to have exposure to a variety of places in the community where they might choose to return and serve again on their own,” she explains.

Non-profit organizations and projects served include:

Food Forward – 41 students and 5 teachers harvesting fruit from a 100-tree Valencia orange orchard in Montecito and donating it to local food pantries and food banks. Students will participate in picking fruit, separating leaves and stems from fruit, transporting fruit on the property, and helping to load fruit into the receiving agency vehicles. 

Girls, Inc. – 6 students and 1 teacher performing general cleaning and organizing. 

Habitat for Humanity Restore – 9 students and 2 teachers organizing the store, setting up displays, rearranging inventory, and possibly performing light cleaning. 

Garden Court (senior center) – 9 students and 1 teacher washing windows, setting up the dining room, playing games with the seniors, and providing ever-so-popular manicures. 

Trinity Gardens – 7 students and 2 teachers doing farm work. 

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History – 8 students and 1 teacher doing work as assigned. 


In the middle School, seventh and eighth grade students will serve by writing letters of thanks to military veterans, after hearing a special address from a veteran on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 10.


Service can’t start too early. Kindergarten through sixth-grade students focus on community service all year long, with regular activities and lessons. Service-related activities happening this week include:

The kindergarten class delivers potted plants to neighbors surrounding the school’s campus at 3723 Modoc Road. They decorated the pots and planted the plants themselves. They put the plants in a wagon and pull it and (with a teacher) walk up to doors, ring the bell, and deliver the plants.

Fourth grade students will move mulch at the Santa Barbara Community Farm.

Fifth grade students will put on a reception for veterans, serving them food, visiting with them, and expressing gratitude for their service. 

Fourth grade students will visit and play games with seniors next door to the school at Vista Del Monte.