A Look at Partnerships in the Community (PIC)

Tiffany Simms '03 | History & Social Sciences Teacher, Partnerships in the Community (PIC) Advisor
Community service goes beyond volunteering—it is about creating positive change through connection with our community. Although a specific amount of service hours are not a graduation requirement, serving others is at the core of the culture and values of GPS. The Partnerships in the Community (PIC) Council is made up of elected members of the student body who are committed to building bridges and connecting our students with organizations in the Chattanooga community.
This year PIC has had a monumental impact on our community. In the fall of 2022, PIC partnered with the Ronald McDonald House to prepare meals for more than 60 people, ran a booth at the IronMan where more than 80 members of our community gave up their Sunday to support, and provided 562 pounds of turkey and $600 (which totals more than 3,000 meals) for those in need in our local area through the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. During the month of October, we collected feminine hygiene products for the Women’s Fund of Chattanooga and were able to give 2,500 period products to the Hamilton County Care Closet supply hub. Additionally, more than 20 girls and their families generously donated over $2,000 worth of gifts for two local families through the Chambliss Center Angel Tree so they could have a Christmas to remember. 
The GPS Middle School kicked off 2023 with a bang by creating 313 snack packs for the Chattanooga Area Food Bank on MLK Day of Service and the sixth grade made more than 70 fleece blankets during their Winterim to provide to the Community Kitchen, with 90 pounds of warmth for our homeless community. Additionally, PIC’s annual Cookies for a Cause Valentines' fundraiser has enabled GPS to give $22,700 to Habitat for Humanity’s Women’s Build home for 2023! In another recent event, GPS raised over $2,500 for Emily’s Power for a Cure through our GPS Pink It to the Limit Team at the Chattanooga Marathon, which raised $20,000+ during that event.
All in all, it has been an incredible year of service at GPS. Although I know many of these statistics show only monetary donations and funds raised to certain causes, the most significant impact GPS has had on our local area has been the hours of face-to-face volunteering and our steadfast commitment to improving our Chattanooga community. In the last three years alone, since I have been the PIC faculty sponsor, GPS students have dedicated a combined total of more than 10,000 hours to serving our community—not because they have to, but because they choose to. The girls of GPS continue to discover their hearts to serve, answer the call to lead, and exercise a commitment to improving our larger community. Thank you, families, for your continued support and helping to create positive change through connection with our community.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” —Anne Frank