Hands-to-Work is our service learning program, rooted in the traditions of the Shakers who lived here previously. It’s a program that highlights purposeful work, leadership through service, and the rewards of a cooperative effort to sustain and improve The Darrow School community.

Hands-to-Work in Action

Every Wednesday, some twenty Hands-to-Work crews of students, faculty, and staff undertake a variety of tasks. 

For example, the Garden Crew might harvest vegetables for the Darrow kitchen, while the Samson Environmental Center (SEC) Crew will clean and maintain the saltwater fish tank and other elements of our biodynamic water treatment facility (known as The Living Machine™.) The Sugaring Crew might tap maple trees for making syrup as the Recycling Crew helps in our sustainability efforts. 

Some Hands-to-Work crews provide valuable services to the greater community, such as mentoring children at a nearby school or caring for animals at the Berkshire Humane Society. 


Changing Jobs & Learning New Skills

Throughout the year, our students rotate through multiple crews, discovering new interests and new skills. 

Through Hands-to-Work, students take pride in the practical knowledge they develop and often feel gratified by the visible results of their efforts. Our alumni consistently tell us that Hands-to-Work is one of the signature experiences in shaping Darrow means to them. It’s not a job, but a community endeavor and many students discover a passion they never knew existed.

Our video takes you into the Hands-to-Work program.


Hands-to-Work Crews

  • Berkshire Humane Society. Learn to care for animals at the shelter.

  • Darrow Dining Services. Learn about food service from basic sanitation/safety to nutrition, meal planning, ordering and management. 

  • Head Start.Mentor young people in a program that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and other services to low-income children and their families.

  • Kitchen. One reason Wednesday is commonly referred to as "the best day of the week" is the creative, artisanal lunches. Under the guidance of dining professionals who make this their daily craft, the Kitchen Crew makes nutritious, healthy meals that wow us each week. When available, our ingredients are locally sourced from a bio-dynamic CSA farm on our campus.

  • Livestock Experience. Go to Hancock Shaker Village to assist at every level of a dynamic livestock operation.

  • Maple Sugaring. Learn to identify, care for, and reap the benefits from the sugar maples on campus. Repair and prepare sap lines and the Sugar House for the season.

  • Performing Arts.Prepare for upcoming shows and break down previous sets, lights, equipment, etc. for performing arts productions and events.

  • Sports.Maintain the sports fields, the gym, and every accessory that comes with it. Maintain and prepare uniforms for competing teams.

  • Trails.Maintains Darrow's network of idyllic forest trails for our Cross-Country Team, mountain bikers, and for those of us who love a quiet nature walk. Occasionally, new trails are created and blazed.

  • Wood Chopping. Firewood for heating fuel and for maple sugaring is key to our lifestyle. Those who saw, split and stack receive an extra dose of gratitude.


To learn more about Hands-to-Work, please contact Ted Lightburn, Science Department Chair, at [email protected].


Hi! We’re Glad You're Here.

Click here to go on a virtual tour of our campus, or click below to have someone from our team contact you.