All-In for the Bronx: buildOn and LGJ

Imagine a school where every single student was engaged in creating positive social change in their community. That’s the reality at Bronx’s School for Law, Government, and Justice (LGJ), where a remarkable 100% of students serve with buildOn in 9th grade! Their work highlights the importance of community service and education in building the next generation of leaders in the Bronx and across the country as a whole. 

As a result of our long-standing relationship with LGJ, all 9th-grade civics courses at the high school require students to complete 30 service hours by the end of the school year. Just this school year alone, 287 LGJ students have completed almost 2,400 service hours in some of the city’s most economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods, where nearly half of all residents live below the poverty line.

One favorite service for students is tutoring at P.S. 35, a public elementary school right across the street from LGJ in the South Bronx. Every week, students help the children with their homework and then facilitate various activities such as sports, games, and dancing.

Though the service is required because LGJ staff believe in the power of our work, many students have additional reasons for getting involved. “I come to buildOn to do community service and to help out my community to make it a better place,” explains Isaiah, a student at LGJ. “To me, service means making a change in my community and making it safer for kids to enjoy.”

LGJ students like Isaiah serve their community with buildOn for at least 30 hours each school year. Many do even more!

This hands-on experience helping their neighbors transcends textbooks. It’s a powerful lesson in collaboration, community-building, and the transformative power of service.

That’s why their teachers made the service hours a requirement. “buildOn does so much to help the students, especially the ones who really give it their all, find a fuller educational experience than their peers who are only learning academically,” says Basil Manalakos, a teacher at LGJ. 

LGJ students also serve at soup kitchens and food pantries like Broadway Soup Kitchen across the city.

Through the hours they spend helping their neighbors, LGJ students become cornerstones of their communities and develop a habit of service that will last them the rest of their lives. 

 “I come to buildOn… to help out my community to make it a better place.”

Isaiah, Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice
LGJ students help tutor their younger neighbors at P.S. 35 every week.

LGJ’s high level of participation in buildOn programs sends a powerful message. The school’s dedication to community and social justice is woven into the very fabric of their students’ education, shaping their understanding of civics and the role they can personally play in making the world around them a better place.

Thank you, LGJ students and teachers!

Imagine all the good we could do if we had the resources to reach 100% participation in all of our schools! Help us engage students in the Bronx and throughout the country by making a tax-deductible donation today.