Christian Service Program
The mission of the Society of Jesus has been from the beginning to “help souls” and to do all things “for the greater glory of God.” The schools the Jesuits founded were to be both an object and an instrument of that mission. Today, the ideal of Jesuit education is expressed in the phrase “educating men and women for others.” Fordham Preparatory School works to cultivate in its students the ability to find God in all things, to recognize the call to wonder, to revere, to thank and to serve God and all creation, especially people in need. The Service Program is responsible for organizing a curriculum, programs and activities that provide students with opportunities to hear and to respond to this vocation.
In order to achieve the goal of making service an integral part of every student’s experience, Fordham Prep has a four-year service requirement for all students.
Our first-year students perform service with their mentor groups in order to build a sense of community. The theme of freshman year service is charity. Freshmen begin in the fall when they make crafts under the supervision of the Fine Arts Department that are distributed to elderly persons during the holiday season. At Christmas, mentor groups participate in a toy drive for youngsters at a Catholic elementary school in the South Bronx. In February, they participate in a Valentine’s Day card project, sending personal notes to residents of local nursing homes where our seniors are doing their service projects.
Our sophomores also perform service through their mentor groups to strengthen the idea that service is a communal responsibility. The theme of sophomore year service is justice and Catholic social teaching. Sophomores participate in the same annual projects as the freshmen: holiday crafts, Christmas toy drive and Valentine’s Day cards. Sophomore mentor groups also design and implement their own projects, and are asked to focus their efforts on an issue or agency that seeks to promote social justice. Recent projects have sought to understand the plight of and to aid refugees, immigrants and sweatshop laborers.
The upperclassmen fulfill individual service requirements. Our juniors are primarily responsible for responding to the needs that exist within our school. They are required to give 15 hours of their own time to a service activity or club, such as tutoring peers who are struggling academically, raising awareness and funds for a medical mission program founded by a Prep alumnus, directing underclassman retreats and hosting visitors to the Prep. Eight of the fifteen hours may be performed at an outside agency approved by Fordham Prep.
In their final year, students are expected to have developed the maturity, knowledge, social skills and judgment that will enable them to go out into the world to provide direct service to people in need. Seniors give 70 hours of their own time to approved service projects as part of their graduation requirement. All seniors are enrolled in a service course that offers reflection, discussion and instruction on issues of faith and justice. Seniors can be found comforting the sick and dying in hospitals and hospices. They visit the elderly and people who need assistance and companionship at nursing homes. They pair up with persons who have disabilities in therapeutic programs. Our seniors feed and provide clothing to persons who are poor and homeless at shelters and soup kitchens. They also teach children in after-school tutoring and CCD programs.
In addition, Campus Ministry and Christian Service offer the following programs.
Service Immersion Trips
In addition to the four-year requirement, students can also volunteer to travel to the Appalachia Mountain Region, Camden (NJ) and Ecuador to live in community and to provide material assistance to residents in need. Our young men do much-needed building and home repairs for people who are not able to do or afford the work. Lasting from a week to ten days, most of these trips take place in the summer.
2013 Service Immersion Trips
To learn more about this year's Christian Service Immersion Trips to West Virginia, Tennessee and Ecuador follow the link below.
The application deadline is Wednesday, October 31st. The trips are offered to those presently in sophomore or junior year.
Social Justice Initiatives
Fordham Prep is intensifying its efforts to educate itself about and bear witness to Catholic social teaching. The Campus Ministry and Service Departments currently sponsor a number of social justice events to increase student awareness of justice issues. These include Hunger Awareness Week, school-wide canned food drives, Ignatian PeaceAction assemblies on environmental justice, immigration reform and Good Friday Peace Walk.