Community Engagement Welcome

Rivers is committed to helping students use their "talents, imagination, intellect, and compassion" to affect positive social change. One way we help them do that is by having them engage with people in our local communities and with issues of both local and national importance. In addition to the personal enjoyment and growth that come from hands-on engagement opportunities, students develop their understanding of the complexities and root causes that underlie many societal issues as they interact with people who have had varied life experiences. Our hope is that these school-run community engagement experiences will promote students' interest in examining the history, policies, and economics of social issues in this country. 

Community Engagement Gallery

Below is an updated list of opportunities for students and families who want to engage in a helpful and meaningful way with their communities.The holiday season can be an especially difficult time for some people, so making time to reach out with a helping hand is especially important. Have a discussion with your family about ways you might like to help.


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  • Make Sandwiches for Local Organizations

    As a family, subscribe to the social media of your local food banks. This is where they will post what their needs currently are. Rivers has supported a Place to Turn in Natick for many years, and they post frequently with what is needed on their pantry shelves. You can also visit the websites of various organizations to get up-to-date info.

    To sign up for one of the opportunities described below,  please click here to go to this Google Doc.
    Bristol Lodge in Waltham is an overnight shelter at 545 Moody St., Waltham. They need approximately 60 sandwiches on Fridays, that can be delivered directly to the Lodge between 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Details are in the Google Doc above.

    The Community Day Center in Waltham provides a warm place for Waltham’s homeless to be during the day, and has computers and simple food available. During Covid they are handing out bag lunches.
    In addition, Middle School students are in the midst of a holiday project to support the Natick Service Council Food Pantry. They are making snack bags to provide to school kids for days in school and vacation/home days. We will be collecting items — applesauce and fruit cocktail packs, small water bottles, granola bars, pretzels, cracker packs, raisins, juice boxes — all peanut free. Items will be collected in the Middle School, packed up and delivered to Natick Service Council on December 19. We are hoping for 100% participation in the MS.

  • Tutor Children at Immigrant Family Services Institute

    Rivers students tutor elementary age students virtually through IFSI. They also assist with homework and enrichment programs in things like music and art. More than 50 Rivers students have tutored with IFSI since April, and they  have loved it. The Zoom sessions are held at the same time weekly, and many Rivers students tutor in the early evening and on Saturdays. Rivers students  will receive training that includes starting in a group setting before moving into break out rooms with IFSI students. The program serves grades 9 - 12.
  • PAST: February - April 2021: Connecting with the Disability Community

    The PALS Programs, a nonprofit organization creating inclusive camp experiences for people with and without Down syndrome, will be hosting one-week hybrid spring programs in cities across the country between February 22 and April 10. These events will be made up of two in-person events on consecutive Saturdays that will “sandwich” virtual, on-hour evening Zoom calls during the week. All volunteers will be paired 1-1 with a peer-aged partner with Down syndrome for all of the events of the week. Dates, locations, and more information can be found by clicking here.
    Volunteers do not need to have prior experience with Down syndrome or the disability community. Training is provided at the beginning of each program. Volunteers must be 15 or older to be eligible.
  • PAST: January 2021: Food Drive

    This will be held in late January. We intentionally do food drives at times other than the holidays, as food bank shelves are filled at those times. Details about the food drive will be posted here later. The Rivers community was  so generous at our two food drives last year; we hope we can match that effort again!
  • PAST: December 7 - 18, 2020: Children’s Book Drive for Immigrant Family Services Institute

    This will be held from December 7 - 18. Please bring new or gently read children’s books, infant through middle school level, to the drop-off boxes in The Revers Center, Haynes, Prince, or the Campus Center. We have a wonderful partnership with IFSI, and they would love children to have more books to take home with them.

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Meet The Community Engagement Team

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Katharine Cunningham

    Katharine Cunningham 

    Director of Community Engagement, Interdisciplinary Studies
    Colby College - BA
    Tufts University - MEd
  • Photo of Laura Brewer

    Laura Brewer 

    Humanities, Performing Arts, Middle School Community Service Coordinator
    Boston College - MA
    Boston College - BA