Service & Outreach

SJR Service Plan 2023-2024:

At St. Joe's we believe that it is not only our privilege to help develop Vir Fidelis, the Faithful Man, but it is our responsibility, as a school community. With that in mind, the departments of Campus Ministry and Theology, together will be implementing a new SJR Service Plan for all students. The focus of this year’s Campus Ministry Service Plan is to enable students to grow in their faith and their relationship with God through service. Students will be offered various opportunities to come together as brothers who serve God and others, allowing them to become servants to their school, their parish and the local community. The emphasis of serving God in a humble and meaningful way, is reflective of our patron saint, St. Joseph and his devotion and loyalty to God and is one of our three pillars - Think, Lead, SERVE. The mission of this year’s plan is as follows:

Volunteer Hours and Reflection Essay:
Each student will contribute 10 hours of volunteer service with opportunities and organizations that meet the requirements as stated by the office of Campus Ministry and in accordance with the Theology Dept. A minimum of the first 5 hours are to be completed Friday December 15, 2023. Service hours will be properly documented by the student, on the SJR Service Log form and submitted to their Theology teacher no later than this date. The remainder of the hours are to be completed no later than May 1, 2024. Students do not need to wait until 5/1/24 to submit their hours, in fact it is encouraged to begin working on them as early in the school year as possible. Upon completion of 10 hours of service, each student will write and submit a one page reflection essay about their volunteering experiences.

*Students are certainly permitted to exceed the 10 hour service requirement; however, only one reflection essay is due on or before May 1, 2024.
Students may select service projects/events that are offered through SJR as well as external service opportunities. SEE GUIDELINES FOR QUALIFYING SERVICE (below). “In house” opportunities will be available on a first come, first serve basis for sign ups. There will be multiple opportunities throughout the school year. Upon completion of their service opportunities and your 10 hour responsibility, a one page reflection paper will be submitted to their Theology teacher which will count as 10% of your Theology grade. Examples may include but are not limited to: in-house Covenant House Sleep Out, Halloween Candy Drive, Thanksgiving Food Drive, Christmas Toy Drive, visiting a senior living facility, soup kitchen, Midnight Run, etc.
Qualifying Service:
All projects must benefit people, not animals. The projects must be above and beyond a student’s (a) family responsibilities, both immediate (father, mother, sister, brother) and extended (grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles) and (b) responsibilities as a member of a school or community group (e.g., National Honor Society, Student Government, sports programs). You may not be absent from school or leave early to do service hours, unless you are participating in a project we sponsor. If there is any doubt about the kind of service that qualifies, the student should see his Theology teacher before doing a project. If you volunteer to coach children, the league or organization must be non-profit. A privately owned one does not count for our purposes, since all you would be doing in effect is saving the owner money by not having to hire someone else.

Non-Qualifying Service:
The following types of work do not count as service hours that we would formally recognize: SJR’s summer camp programs; any work for which you receive payment or remuneration; helping any for-profit business (even doctors, unless they are sponsoring a free clinic or charitable event); coaching anyone enrolled in a for profit agency (local recreation leagues are okay); tutoring or mentoring; child care for a relative or neighbor (e.g., babysitting); helping political organizations (unless they are sponsoring a charitable event that helps the whole community); helping neighbors with any work they can do themselves and/or afford to pay someone to do it; helping a relative “at the office”; and helping students older than 6th grade. For the handicapped, any grade level is acceptable. Your service must benefit the community at large, the elderly, the poor, the handicapped, children, or disadvantaged people. Doing something “for free” does not automatically qualify it as community service. It is your responsibility to know what kind of service counts. When in doubt, ask.

Suggestions for Service Hours:
We will be offering service opportunities to our students throughout the school year. In addition, students may identify their own projects and sites. This hands-on approach allows them to choose projects suited to their own interests and schedules. Some suggested projects are as follows: blood bank, charity organization, coaching grammar school children (nothing beyond 6th grade), elderly people (e.g., nursing home, assisted living facility), E.M.T. (ambulance), environmental clean-up, fire department, food kitchen or pantry, Habitat for Humanity, handicapped people (e.g., Special Olympics), homeless shelter, hospital volunteer, Knights of Columbus, parish volunteer (altar server, CCD teacher or aide, general help, lector, retreat team, Youth Group), police department, public library, Veterans Home, any drive conducted for needy people or any fundraiser for an established charity

Recognition for Outstanding Service:
Just as we acknowledge students for their outstanding performance in other areas of school life, we will continue to recognize those students who do outstanding amounts of service. We will therefore present an award to the student who accomplishes the highest number of service hours in each grade. Theology teachers are at liberty to offer incentives and recognition to their students at their own discretion.

Students are granted the opportunity to serve the eldest of their communities. Groups of students travel to area nursing homes and assisted living centers to engage senior citizens and bring more energy to their retired, leisurely lifestyles, especially combating the underserved needs of the elderly. The program's aim is to build bridges between the generations as they both learn from each other while building new friendships.

The program runs on the 1st Monday (Dcn. Sisco) and 3rd Tuesday of each month.

Every January, St. Joe's students travel down to our nation's capital to join their voices with tens of thousands of other pro-life aligned groups. Read more about last year's experience printed in the Catholic Advocate here.
Each year, after everyone else leaves for Christmas break, the chorus sticks behind to go caroling to nearby assisted living homes and an early education center. The event is usually a hit with spreading joy and cheer for all to hear. Read about it in the latest issue of NJ Catholic.
Thank you for all your help to provide more than 100 turkeys and 5,000 pounds of food items to the Office of Concern in Englewood, NJ and People to People in Nanuet, NY.