COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAM
PhilosophyAs a Catholic community in the Franciscan tradition, Mount Alvernia High School is committed to fostering in its students a special love and concern for the poor in the world. Faithful to this tradition, Mount Alvernia teaches that all people are interrelated, that they belong to a single community sustained by God, who calls each of its members to a life of compassion and justice. This sense of communal belonging and the inherent responsibility it entails is one of our fundamental and most cherished values.
All students in grades 8 through 12 are required to complete 30 hours of community service each school year. The number of hours completed may exceed 30 hours each year, but additional hours cannot be carried over from one year to another. The only year that hours can be carried over and credited to the next year’s requirement is during grade 7. Since there is no service requirement in grade 7, any service hours performed in grade 7 can be credited to the service requirement in grade 8. All hours must be verified by May 15 of each year. Seniors must complete their service requirement by April 1.
Students must complete a minimum of 150 hours in order to graduate, with the exception of transfer students, who must complete 30 hours of service during each year they attend Mount Alvernia. For example, a student who attends the school from grades 9 through 12 must complete 120 hours of service.
Before undertaking a community service project, each student must check with the Community Service Coordinator to receive approval that the project qualifies as an appropriate volunteer opportunity. (A project that has not received pre-approval may be rejected if it does not meet project requirements.)
The Community Service bulletin board, located in the hallway on the first floor of the main building, lists current volunteer opportunities. Students are advised to check the board on a regular basis. Students are encouraged to seek out placements based on interest, proximity to home or school, and personal scheduling issues.
All students will be required to meet with the community service director before the end of the first quarter to discuss their community service plans and the site at which they will be completing the requirement.
The general project requirements are the following:
- 1. The volunteer work is focused on serving the person or persons in greatest need.
- 2. The student receives no monetary compensation for the service.
- 3. The service is conducted for a nonprofit agency.
- 4. The service is completed from June 15 through May 15 of each school year. (Community service performed during the summer months will be credited to the following school year.)
- 5. The service is performed outside of the student’s family -- babysitting, housecleaning, caring for a grandparent, etc. are not eligible.
- 6. The service offers the student the potential to give and grow.
- 7. Internships and political campaigns are not considered community service.
- 8. The work does not qualify as an extracurricular activity either at MAHS or outside of school.
Upon completion of each community service project, however brief, the student must submit a Community Service Evaluation Form to the person who supervised her volunteer work.
Possible Service Opportunities
Community Service Opportunities for Fall 2011
The list of community service opportunities is endless. This is just a sampling:
- Nursing homes and hospitals
- Homeless shelters
- Food pantries
- Group homes for abused children
- Senior citizen centers
- Soup kitchens and meal programs
- Child care programs for disadvantaged children
- Youth sports programs (coaching)
- Elementary school afterschool programs
- Special needs programs
- Parish religious education programs (CCD instruction)
- Youth and community recreation centers
- Pledge walks for hunger and AIDS (minimum number of pledge dollars required)
Students must take the initiative in checking in with the Community Service Coordinator on a regular basis to provide an update on their community service work in the same way they communicate with their teachers about academic assignments. In assuming responsibility for this task, they learn to manage their time and balance all aspects of their lives.
RecognitionIn early May of each year, the Mount Alvernia community celebrates Foundress Day with a liturgy and awards ceremony. As part of the school’s commitment to acknowledging achievement in community service as well as academics, the Sister Mark Kelly Community Service Scholarship, in the amount of $1000, is awarded to the Senior who best exhibits the true spirit of service that Sister Mark, a Franciscan sister, exemplified in her work with the poor of Brooklyn, New York. In addition, The Gift of Giving Scholarship is awarded to a student in memory of the Bonica and Lynch families to honor the community service of a student in grades nine through twelve. Students may apply for the award of $300.00 by writing a 300-500 word essay entitled “How Community Service Has Changed My Life.”
Schoolwide Service Projects
The tradition of sharing our gifts with the less fortunate is long rooted at Mount Alvernia High School. Throughout the school year and during the holidays, the school community focuses its outreach efforts on the less fortunate in our local and global communities. While participation is not mandatory, students, parents, and faculty are strongly encouraged to make some contribution to the following service projects.
Thanksgiving Food Drive for a needy parish: In November, students provide baskets of food and turkeys for the needy of this parish. Collections are taken up in the classrooms and the food is gathered and delivered.
The Christmas Giving Project for selected needy schools: In early December, we celebrate a prayer service at which students and faculty choose a book-shaped ornament from the gift-giving tree. On each ornament is written a grade level. Faculty and students purchase an appropriate book and several weeks later we gather again in the chapel, at which time the books are collected and distributed to the schools.
The Spring Toiletry Drive: During Lent, students purchase small toiletries for the guests at a homeless shelter. Each room is assigned certain items to donate. All of the items are then sorted, packed and delivered to the shelter.
Community Service Director: Ms. Megan Leahy
School Wide Service Project Coordinator:
Mrs. Mary Bridget Chick, Campus Minister