Joyful January x CAN-uary

Danny Stock

In a community wide effort to welcome GDS students in the new year with joy and purpose, the wellness, counseling, and community engagement teams have introduced Joyful January x CAN-uary. The program offers a collection of activities, events, and service learning projects crafted in developmentally relevant ways for students across the three divisions.

In recognition of the difficulty and disappointments of 2020, leaders of the effort aim to reaffirm the ethos of joyful learning and service at GDS in the new year. On the project website, they state, “GDS is a community of joyful, passionate, and engaged human beings. We want to use the month of January to harness that energy and spirit and use it to infuse the beginning of 2021 with even more joy and can-do spirit.”

This week has been about joy, next week will focus on gratitude, and the final week of the month will be centered around kindness. At the same time, students are invited to participate in “can challenges,” creative and value affirming activities designed to promote learning around service. Concurrently, GDS will facilitate a food drive (hence “cans”) for local organizations dedicated to eradicating hunger and food insecurity.

The Lower School will concentrate their efforts on items needed at GDS-partner organization Friendship Place, which provides wrap-around services to individuals experiencing homelessness. In partnership with Families4Families, GDS is collecting perishable and non-perishable food items and supplies from the Middle School to be distributed to families by Finhankra Akoa Ntoasa (FAN), which aims to provide a safe and engaging space for local youth in foster care settings. The High School will concentrate on supporting Martha’s Table, which has seen its needs increase by 400% since the pandemic began. All three collections will culminate on January 30 for one big CAN-uary Celebratory Donation Drop-off!

As the project builds momentum, we invite community members to be in touch with the program leaders if they have any questions: Amy Killy, Bobby Asher, Gabrielle Holder, Gaby Grebski, Leigh Tait, Meryl Heyliger, or Michelle McKeever.

Learn more at the project website, which you can access from your GDS email.

Upcoming community events—See GDS email for the Zoom links. 

  • January 13: Middle & High School Student Game Time
  • January 14: All-school Welcome Back Trivia Night at 5:00 p.m. 
  • January 29: Family Movie Night


  • Community Engagement
  • Counseling
  • High School
  • Lower School
  • Middle School