"Today our prime educational objective must be to form men and women for others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God."
Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus
While many students do plan, and are highly encouraged to complete, their service hours during the summer, here is some information that I hope you find. Please read this document in its entirety, which not only outlines our 4-year Service requirement and commitment to service, but also to keep in mind the importance of a timely completion and reporting of hours through our online x2VOL system.
Jesuit education encompasses educating the student in soul, mind and body, where we strive for excellence not only in the classroom, the athletic field, debate or fine arts, but also in service to the community at large. It gives us a broad range of experiences to encounter God and to walk the talk of being Men for Others. Forming students to discern God’s presence, and to live this experience of being a Man for Others, furthers the mission of the graduate of graduation. Students across all grade levels have a yearly service requirement. Students who graduate from Strake Jesuit must fulfill these requirements to receive their diploma. Through his four years of Jesuit education, we hope that the student will be truly fulfilled through his experiences in service. Service for all grade levels, incoming registered freshman, can begin the summer prior to their entering grade. To achieve the goal of making service an integral part of every student’s experience, the criteria for each grade level is listed below:
Some important resources for student service hours at SJ:
Freshmen have a 15-hour service requirement, the focus being service to the elderly. This service can be done in many capacities at nursing homes or retirement facilities. This is in addition to the nursing home visits they encounter during their Freshman Retreat.
Sophomores have a 15-hour service requirement with the focus being mentoring/tutoring at underprivileged institutions. In addition, they also have two class projects: B.E.A.R drive during Thanksgiving, and Special Olympics in Spring.
Juniors have a 25-hour requirement with focus being service done through their place of worship. This helps support your own worship community with projects done through the church.
Seniors have a 100-hour minimum requirement to complete their senior project, done with (preferable) no more than two agencies, pre-approved. The senior should find a project that will help him maximize his learning potential, finalize and pre-approve it prior to starting, to ensure the project satisfies the criteria. Seniors submit a signed contract for this. Summer is best time to complete.
The idea of doing Service to others is not for the sake of accumulating hours, but to do it seeking God in all things, through our actions. We can make it a learning experience about issues of Social Justice, and to put into practice some of these issues studied in Theology classes as well as the teachings of the Catholic Church. Having yearly thematic service requirements challenges the students to diversify their experiences and work with different populations. Some become life-changing experiences for our young men, where one learns to appreciate the value of direct service, followed by a personal reflection, on the relationships built in serving others. Projects include a variety of options (as stated above), but the main focus for service to be directed towards the poor, marginalized, underprivileged, elderly, etc., serving at local soup kitchens and homeless shelters, including summer camps for the physically and mentally challenged.
A few things to keep in mind that students must consider:
• Must be direct service of basic human good, serving people in need.
* Seniors doing hours at the Houston Food Bank can only count no more than 50 hours maximum, since most of these hours are non-person contact hours.
• No compensation should be received for any services rendered
• Service to one’s own direct family cannot qualify
• Choose a single agency; if a second option is used, please consult the service office
• Hours done on campus (Work-grant, Open House, Spring Fling, athletic camps, to name a few) will not count
• Hours for NHS, Key Club and like clubs/organizations are independent of the grade level requirement, and each is reported to a different office; cannot double-dip
• Must be pre-approved if not in school database website listing or if unsure
• Hours are not cumulative from one year to the next
• When in doubt about what qualifies or not for a particular grade level, please contact the Service Office for approval
Once hours are complete, a student can keep obtain some form of verification which contains the adult supervisor’s name, email and/or phone no. for verification purposes. Students will report their hours through our online x2VOL system to include this information, It is advised to let the adult supervisor know that they will receive an email to verify your hours. Note: the adult supervisor CANNOT be a parent or family member, unless this is discussed with the Service Director in advance. If online verification does not take place, the student will be requested for paper documentation, which can be obtained one of two ways:
- Official letter (on agency stationary) where hours were completed, to include supervisor name and contact information or;
- Service Hours Verification form. This outlines the above information, but must be filled out with dates of service. Students need to take the two-page sheet with them.
Students completing their hours in the summer can report their hours online, beginning in August. Those that do it during the school year are encouraged to report their completed hours within two weeks of completing volunteer hours. It is also important to note that all hours completed in the summer MUST be reported by the first quarter deadline. Incoming freshmen will only receive their login credentials for Naviance after school begins. This system will be explained through the Academic and Personal Counseling Class meetings, and soon after, can report their hours online.
Finally, all students will have a Reflection component to accompany their Service experience. For underclassmen, this will be done via Theology classes; for seniors, they report it via Google Classroom to the Senior Service Projects “class.” It is imperative that students do complete their hours’ requirement prior to doing their Reflection for that service to have meaning and value. Failure to complete the required hours will only impact the student’s continued status as a Strake Jesuit student. Seniors will signup for their individual/group Senior Reflection meetings directly with the Service Office. This information will be available to seniors once school begins.
Our vision and philosophy is to help students grow to be Men for others in the true sense of humility. It is about empowering students to “find God in all things.” Thank you parents, for your attention to this important aspect of your son’s educational formation here at Strake Jesuit. For questions, clarifications, or to pre-verify service projects, please email the Pastoral Ministry Office, firstname.lastname@example.org.