Taking a L.E.A.D. in Service

Communications News

Community service is a way of life at Mount Alvernia. Just as we aspire to foster a commitment to lifelong learning at Mount Alvernia, we likewise aim to nurture a dedication to serving the needs of others.

“Community service has always been an incredibly important part of the Mount Alvernia High School experience – beyond the facts and figures learned in various content areas students are learning how to personify “pax et bonum” ​in the world,” said Eileen McLaughlin, Head of School.

Under the leadership of Campus Minister, Debra McCourt, our Community Service program is undergoing a transformation.

“As a new campus minister coming into the community, I thought it was a good idea to take a look at the existing program and see where we could make changes to align with our mission statement, what it takes to be a 7 C’s Woman and evaluate the requirements currently in place,” said McCourt.

Until the end of this academic year, students must complete a minimum of 30 hours of service each year from grade 8 through grade 12 in addition to our academic requirements.

Called “L.E.A.D” (Learn, Engage, Action, Dedicate), the new community service program is grounded in the Christ’s calling of his disciples to care of the poor, lost and lonely of society and the model of servant leadership, that when you take care of the needs of people first, leadership will follow. These themes will be supported through theology classes, retreats and service opportunities.

“We state in our mission that we are steeped in Franciscan Tradition; what better way to be Franciscan than to take care of the poor of our society.  This program will help the girls to hear, see, and experience this mission,” said McCourt.  “Also, for many girls putting themselves into a new situation of reaching people they may never come in contact with helps them gain confidence and perhaps give them a purpose to make change in the world.”

The new program was launched on the last day of classes in June. The program will be affect starting this fall.

Each grade level will engage with the program differently, working their way up to volunteering in their communities by senior year.

The details are as follows:

  • 7th & 8th  Grades: “Learn” – Speakers and volunteers from various organizations  will be invited to speak on behalf of their organizations and causes.  Students will be invited to participate in a variety of on-campus drives, collections, and after school run activities. Each one established to educate the student to choose to live justly and with compassion.  These grades will not have a minimum of hours to complete.
  • 9th Grade:  “Engage” – Students will be asked to participate in a series of volunteer opportunities beyond  the Mount Alvernia Community, through the many partnerships made with organizations. Students will be asked to complete 10 hours.
  • 10th & 11th Grade:  “Action” –  Students will be asked to complete 15 hours of service at a site that is both approved by the Campus Minister and they feel called to put their passion into Action. 
  • 12th Grade:  “Dedicate” – The senior year will be a capstone year and include completing 20 hours of community service along with personal reflection based on the relationship made between site and volunteer.

“My hope is that the restructuring of the community service program allows students to come to understand their role in their own communities and the call to move beyond their own communities as well to serve those who are marginalized in our society,” said McLaughlin.