Service Requirements

All students are now required to do service all four years at the Prep.  

Freshmen are required to complete 5 hours with the Daily Service opportunities, the monthly Father/Son Day of Service, St. Francis Inn, or the Bethesda Project.

Sophomores are expected to complete 10 hours through St. Joe’s Prep sponsored programs (Daily Service,the monthly Father/Son Day of Service, Annual Service Initiatives, Summer Service Immersion trips, Homelessness Sleepout, and Empty Bowls).

Juniors are required to complete 20 hours of service and Seniors must complete 40 hours of service. In addition to these hours, students are required to write a reflection essay on their service experience or hand in a journal from a Prep sanctioned service immersion trip.

Suggestions for service projects are provided by the Mission & Ministry Office throughout the school year through the announcements and the website. We encourage students to begin to participate in service opportunities as soon as possible.

The Mission & Ministry Office will NOT assign students to projects but will gladly help the student find the appropriate site for his talents and availability. Meetings can be set up with members of the Mission and Ministry team during the student’s free periods to discuss more fully.

What Is Acceptable Service?

School Sponsored Programs

Any service program sponsored directly by St. Joseph’s Prep (e.g. Daily Service, Annual Service Initiatives, Summer Service Immersion trips, Homelessness Sleepout, and Empty Bowls) is acceptable. A student’s participation in such a program should always be verified by someone at the site or the Prep moderator of that activity.  It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his service hours have been verified.

Verification of Service Hours Completed

Verification of a student’s participation in a Prep sponsored program will be provided by the director or moderator of that program. After completing the program, the student has no further obligation to verify his involvement although the Mission & Ministry Office always would like to be kept aware of all the good things each student is doing.

When hours have been fulfilled in a program not directly related to the Prep, a formal letter must be sent or given to the Director of Ignatian Service as verification that the student did indeed fulfill his hours.

This letter MUST:

    1. Be typed on the outside organization’s letterhead or sent from an official email address;
    2. Indicate the exact days and hours of work;
    3. Explain what type of work was performed;
    4. Include the signature, position, and phone number of the supervising person; and
    5. Be received by the Mission and Ministry Office as soon as the project is completed.

Where appropriate, a brochure or description of the program is always beneficial. Letters that do not follow this format will not be accepted. Hand-written notes from parents will not be accepted. It is NOT the responsibility of the Mission and Ministry staff to call to confirm hours. It is the student’s responsibility to hand in the appropriate documentation by the appropriate deadline.

Non-School Sponsored Programs

Students are encouraged to find or design their own service project to fulfill their required service hours. The following requirements apply:

    1. The project must assist people who are socially or economically disadvantaged and provide the kind of atmosphere in keeping with the mission of the Ignatian Service Program. Therefore, in choosing a service project, we ask that it involve direct work with those in need and not be something that the student would ordinarily do. The idea is for the student to be engaged in work that pushes him beyond his “comfort zone,” a project which puts him in an environment in that he is not completely “comfortable.” This challenging atmosphere is where true learning happens.
       
    2. As a result of this philosophy, programs such as helping relatives, coaching CYO teams, or others programs similar that do not place the student in a setting with disadvantaged people or beyond his “comfort zone” WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED BLINDLY for the student’s service hour requirement. We want to acknowledge the good that each of our students are doing, but want to encourage them to do something more.
       
    3. Any program which includes a stipend is not acceptable. Travel time should not count unless it is directly connected to the service the student is performing.

How To Obtain Approval for Outside Service Programs

All Prep sponsored service programs are pre-approved. Any program advertised in the announcements by the Mission & Ministry Office, posted on the Prep website, or run by the Mission & Ministry Office fit this description. Outside projects are approved according to the following procedure:

  1. Students must speak with the Director of Ignatian Service about the program the student is interested in participating after reviewing the requirements in the Non-School Sponsored Programs section above. The student should know if the project follows the guidelines listed before asking for permission.
     
  2. Work on an outside project should not begin until approval has been given by the Director of Ignatian Service. Otherwise, the student assumes the risk that the hours completed on that program might not be counted.

Verification of Service Hours Completed

Verification of a student’s participation in a Prep sponsored program will be provided by the director or moderator of that program. After completing the requirements of the program, the student has no further obligation to verify his involvement although the Mission & Ministry Office would always like to be kept aware of the good things each student is doing.

When hours have been fulfilled in a program not directly related to the Prep, a formal letter must be sent or given to the Director of the Ignatian Service Program as verification that the student did indeed fulfill his hours.

 This letter MUST:

    1. Be typed on the outside organization’s letterhead or sent from an official email address;
    2. Indicate the exact days and hours of work;
    3. Explain what type of work was performed;
    4. Include the signature, position, and phone number of the supervising person; and
    5. Be received by the Mission & Ministry Office as soon as the project is completed.

Where appropriate, a brochure or description of the program is always beneficial. Letters that do not follow this format will not be accepted. Hand-written notes from parents will not be accepted. It is NOT the responsibility of the Mission & Ministry Staff to call to confirm hours. It is the student’s responsibility to hand in the appropriate documentation by the appropriate deadline.

Letters should be sent to the following address:

Director of Ignatian Service Program
Saint Joseph's Preparatory School
1733 Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Writing Requirements

Part of the Ignatian Service experience is reflecting on the work you have done. For this reason a writing requirement accompanies the hour requirement.  

All students who participate in a St. Joe’s Prep Service Immersion trip must journal their experience every night with the group on their trip. This journal counts towards the student’s writing requirement.  

If a student does not go on a Service Immersion program through the school, a formal essay must be written for their service writing/reflection requirement.

Ignatian Service Essay

Seniors must submit a 3 page type-written essay of at least 700 words. Juniors are to submit a 2 page type-written essay of at least 600 words.  Freshmen and Sophomores must write a 1 page type-written essay of at least 300 words.  

Students are to reflect on the questions in each of the five sections below: Context, Experience, Reflection, Action, and Evaluation. Please try to evenly distribute your essay between these five sections.

Context

With what attitudes, emotions, moods, prejudices, or biases did you go into your service project? Did you have any particular enthusiasm or fear? Did you have any prior service experience? If so, how did that experience affect your anticipation of this service work?

Experience

Describe the service work that you completed. What were your strengths and weaknesses?

Describe the people you served. Describe your service supervisor and the other people you worked with. What makes these people memorable?

Reflection

How has your service experience affected you? Is there any noticeable impact? Are there any new attitudes? If so, towards what or whom? Do you have any insights about yourself, about how you reached people, and/or about the people you worked for and with? Where did you see God during your service experience? Did you struggle at seeing God through your service? Why?

Action

How will your experience change you or the way you live your life? How will it affect what you might want to do with your life? What actions do you feel your service experience is calling you to take or complete?

Evaluation

How much do you feel you gave of yourself to this service experience? Did you "jump right into it" or did you hold something back? Why?

Were you faithful to your time commitment? Were you reliable and dependable? Do you feel the agency or organization would request to have you back? Why or why not? What grade would you give yourself for the work you completed? Why?

What would you do differently if you had the chance to start over? Was there anything missing that you would want to add to any subsequent experience of service?

Miscellaneous Information

  • A list of opportunities will be available online throughout the school year.
  • Additional opportunities will be emailed, displayed on the TV screens and put on this website as they become available.
  • Powerschool will now be used to record each student’s progress. Students and Parents should check the status of their hours regularly through their Powerschool accounts. Students are also welcome to ask Mrs. Dolores McPoyle in the Main office for updates.
  • Parents will be notified through the mail two times a year of their son’s progress.

Helpful Hints for Parents and Students

  • Begin earlier rather than later. It is practically impossible to find a service program that will accumulate many hours in a short period of time.
  • Use the resources available. The more proactive parents and students are; the easier and more enjoyable the program is.
  • Complete at least half the required hours in the 1st semester.
  • Plan your service opportunities around schoolwork and extra-curricular commitments.
  • The more you communicate the better off you will be.

Deadlines

All required service hours and/or verification letters must be completed by April 21, 2017.

Any hours completed after that date, without communicating with members of the Mission & Ministry staff, may not count.

Failure to complete the required service hours will result in the following:

  1. Failure to receive diploma at commencement.
  2. Completion of the remaining required hours immediately.

Contact

For more information about Service initiatives at the Prep, contact:

Sam Deitch
Mission & Ministry Office
sdeitch@sjprep.org

 


St. Joseph's Preparatory School
1733 West Girard Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19130
tel: 215.978.1950
fax: 215.765.1710
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