Christian Service Program
When St. Ignatius of Loyola and his companions designated education an apostolate of the Society of Jesus, their goal was to empower students to "find God in all things." They believed forming students with the ability to discern God's presence in the world would further the Society’s universal mission to "help souls" for "the greater glory of God." Today that ideal of Ignatian education is expressed in the phrase "educating men and women for and with others." Students at Fordham Preparatory School are called to wonder, to reverence and to thank God, and to serve all of God's creation, especially their sisters and brothers in need. The Christian Service Program is responsible for organizing a curriculum, programs, and activities that provide students with opportunities to recognize, appreciate, and live out this vocation.
Overview of the Four-Year Christian Service Requirement
To achieve the goal of making Christian service an integral part of every student's experience, Fordham Preparatory School has a four-year service requirement:
Freshman Year: Each year freshman mentor groups are asked to design and implement a project of their own, with a focus on charity to local, national, or international agencies. Recent projects have assisted an emergency relief fund at POTS, natural disaster relief efforts, breast cancer and a multi-service center in the South Bronx. Our first-year students also design crafts that are given to elderly residents of local nursing homes. At Christmas, students organize a toy drive for youngsters in Catholic social service programs. In February, they participate in a Valentine's Day card project.
Sophomore Year: In sophomore year, every mentor group is encouraged to select and run a service project that will promote justice, in light of Catholic Social Teaching. Recent projects have included support of refugee relief services, the Prep’s construction of affordable housing in Tennessee through Habitat for Humanity, and a shelter in the Bronx caring for single women and their children (often the victims of domestic violence). In addition, sophomores participate in the Christmas toy drive and the Valentine’s Card project.
Junior Year: Our juniors are primarily responsible for responding to the needs that exist within our school. They are required to give fifteen 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 underclass retreats, and hosting visitors to the Prep. Juniors are also able to perform up to eight of those required service hours at an approved outside agency.
Senior Year: In their final year, our students should have the maturity, knowledge, social skills, and judgment to enable them to go out into the world to provide direct service to people in need. Seniors are required to give seventy hours of their own time to Christian service projects as part of their graduation requirements. Seniors can be found comforting persons who are sick and dying in hospitals and hospices. They visit and recreate with the elderly and people who need assistance and companionship. Our seniors feed and provide clothing to persons who are poor at shelters and soup kitchens. They also teach children in academic and CCD programs. All seniors are enrolled in a service course that provides opportunities for reflection, discussion, and instruction on issues of faith and justice. Placements and projects will be evaluated in light of prevailing COVID regulations and with sensitivity to concerns raised by students.
Director: Paul Homer
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.
Summer Immersion Trips
In addition to the four-year service requirement, students can also volunteer to travel to Camden, NJ, the Appalachia Mountain Region of Tennessee, and Quito, 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.
To learn more about this year's Christian Service Immersion Trips to Camden, Tennessee and Ecuador follow the link below.
Coordinator: Nelson Ritter
Social Justice Opportunities
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 for Justice.