Christian Service

At the heart of its mission, McQuaid Jesuit seeks to form young men committed to service for and with others. The Christian Service Program is an integral part of the student’s formation.  Because of the challenges the pandemic poses, however, our commitment to serving the local community must leverage with the responsibility to protect our students and those whom we serve.  

Our in-person service opportunities continue to adapt to the COVID-19 landscape. In the fall semester, McQuaid Knights have run fundraisers for their Capstone Projects, volunteered for food & cleaning supplies drives, participated in numerous environmental/outdoor cleanups, and have collected much-needed provisions for local homeless shelters. Also, our whole school community collected blood donations for the Red Cross and participated in a friendly food collection competition among other UEA Province Jesuit high schools.  

These opportunities are, no doubt, significant components to the service that McQuaid Jesuit provides for the local community. However, the service immersion trips and direct personal contact with those we serve have been unavailable to us this past year. As soon as health officials and our administration determine it is safe to return to direct service and immersion trips,  we will begin the transition process. In the meantime, requirements will be reviewed and adapted according to our students’ needs, the recommendation of our health officials, and guidance from the school administration.  

These transitions are not easy for anyone and will involve some mistakes. Our office strives to be patient, open to growth, and trusting that God takes delight in the service of our young men. Thanks in advance for your understanding, and please don’t hesitate to contact me with  questions or suggestions for ways in which we can live out our call to be a community “for and  with others.” 

Please note, all students should be using MobileServe to report any hours they wish to count towards their service requirements. If you have questions about using MobileServe, how to sign up, or how to document hours please visit our informational webpage or contact the Director of Service and Justice, Mr. Verghese, S.J. cverghese@mcquaid.org

*MobileServe Update – Starting this year all service hours must be submitted to MobileServe within the semester they are completed. Any hours from over the summer or from previous school years still outstanding must be submitted by October 1, 2021.

There are a number of virtual service options available. We encourage everyone engaged in service outside the home to follow CDC safety guidelines, keep a physical distance from others, and wear protective equipment such as masks and gloves. Additionally, the normal restriction that service cannot be completed for direct family members is being loosened. Students completing tasks for older or high-risk family members may count their actions for service hours. Students should continue to utilize MobileServe to submit hours and should attach a picture of what they are doing with their submission to confirm their hours.

Service

During this pandemic many groups who are at the margins of society are particularly vulnerable. Please check out our Google Doc here on how to connect with and support organizations in our community who are continuing to serve the marginalized.

Justice

  • The Ignatian Solidarity Network – The ISN has some excellent resources on how to stay in solidarity with others, especially the marginalized, during this pandemic. Their Education for Justice wing put together a great resource on how to learn about and take action for vulnerable groups. You can find that here.
  • Frontline and Healthcare Workers – Our fellow New Yorkers in the city are at the epicenter of the U.S.’s coronavirus outbreak. You can support their healthcare workers by purchasing a meal for them or through helping provide needed protective gear. You can also support hospitals by donating blood, which is a major need right now. Check out the Red Cross to find a blood drive near you.
  • The Innocence Project – The coronavirus has spread like a wildfire through many jails throughout the country. Prisoners are unable to socially distance and are often not provided proper hygiene materials, putting not just them but also prison staff at a higher risk. The Innocence Project provides a list of how you can lend your voice, reach out, and spread awareness about this important justice issue. You can continue to learn more from The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that reports on the criminal justice system.
  • Climate Justice – Get involved in an ecochallenge for April and Earth Day or learn more about the climate strike movement and how you can get involved!

Students help prepare a meal at Cameron Community Ministries during MLK Day of Service 2018

McQuaid Jesuit seeks to educate the whole person – mind, body, and soul – and inspire young men to realize their God-given gifts through the pursuit of excellence in all things, service to others, and a life-long commitment to justice. As such, we strive for excellence in service to the community at large and to challenge our students to get outside their comfort zone. Christian service involves work done for the good of others without monetary compensation. Christian service is also done when students work without reward or an achievement of rank or status in an organization. Such work can be completed for a variety of organizations or individuals in need but should have a focus on serving those “on the margins of society,” underserved populations, or with a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Except in extraordinary circumstances, service hours cannot be completed for family members. Service for McQuaid Jesuit’s program cannot also be counted for some other requirement such as: Confirmation projects, Eagle Scout projects, Counselor In Training programs, etc. Questions regarding service hours and what qualifies for service should be directed to the director of service and justice.

Students should be aware that they represent McQuaid Jesuit’s values at all times when they participate in Christian service activities. Students should be respectful of staff, other volunteers, and those they serve at any organization or event they volunteer with and recognize that they are guests among that community. Students are expected to work hard, take initiative, and be good ambassadors for McQuaid Jesuit.

Students must be responsible in the use of their cars. The school is not liable for any infractions that happen during release-time. The school may take action if the infraction reflects on the reputation of McQuaid Jesuit.

Find an online opportunity with Volunteer Match. This page features virtual and on-site volunteer opportunities to aid communities in need. Search by category for what population and type of  volunteering you would like to do: https://www.volunteermatch.org/virtual-volunteering  

Search by multiple categories and organizations in “A Guide to Help and Getting Help”: 

Find virtual volunteer options 

    (1) Points of Light

    (2) Teens Give

    (3) Idealist   

The Middle School has its own requirement of five service hours per year for 6th, 7th and 8th grade. No themes are attached to the service requirements. Any student that transfers into middle school at McQuaid Jesuit will receive five credit hours for the year(s) they were not enrolled at McQuaid. All middle school students should complete the 15-hour requirement before the end of 8th grade to be eligible to move from middle school to high school.

Students can contact the director of service & justice, Mr. Verghese, to get suggestions for appropriate volunteer activities. They may also refer to the virtual volunteer search engines. 

Laudato Si’, the second encyclical of Pope Francis, encouraged us to take care of our common home and take care of the environment. In that light, Freshmen will complete ten service hours under the theme of “Care for God’s Creation,” which focuses on service to the environment or nature. Examples of service that fulfills this theme include neighborhood clean-ups, work with animal shelters or environmental organizations, park beautification, etc. Students can find  additional virtual opportunities for service learning below:  

(1) Ignatian Solidarity Network – Ignatian Carbon Challenge 

Contact: Brenna Davis, bdavis@ignatiansolidarity.net  

For several years, ISN has organized mini-challenges to focus our thoughts and actions on one issue related to climate change. While the 2020-21 challenge dates are not finalized, they will most likely be the Season of Creation (Sept. 1 to Oct. 4), Advent, Lent, Earth Day, and Laudato  Si’ Week. 

(2) Get involved with Climate Justice. Learn more about the climate strike movement here. Learn how you can get involved in climate justice in the time of coronavirus by clicking here or here.

The Sophomore theme is “Life and Dignity of the Human Person” and should focus on recognizing the dignity of others and helping people in need lead fulfilling lives. The standard  20-hour requirement will be reduced to 10 hours. 

This requirement will be re-evaluated and adjusted as needed as the year unfolds. Examples of service that would fulfill this theme include work with the elderly, children, individuals with disabilities, pro-life causes, etc. Additionally, calling, writing letters, sending videos to older adults living in nursing homes.  

    Cannonball Club: Meet and converse with elderly Jesuits in the infirmaries at Murray Weigel in New York City. Learn about the lives of men who dedicated their lives to the Jesuit apostolates in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius. Students and Jesuits would meet in small groups via online video for an hour. See Mr. Verghese or Mrs. Weidmann to sign up.  

    St. Ann’s Community: Local assisted living community has multiple needs and ways to get involved! Ways you can help: make cards for elderly residents, make supportive signs for healthcare workers, grounds work around their facilities, “window visits” for residents, and others. Contact Maureen Murphy at mmurphy@MyStAnns.com to get more information or sign  up.  

    YSOP Connex: Connect with the elderly during this program that facilitates virtual meetings between young people and residents of senior living communities. Students and elderly residents chat in small groups via online video for an hour. The program requires a brief orientation for students prior to communication. Email Mr. Ed Doty at edoty@ysop.org for more info.  

    Learn to Be: Become an online tutor with Learn to Be, a non-profit that has supported over 2,000 K-12 students since 2012. They will partner you with a student for 1-on-1 online tutoring sessions. Check out their website here.

    Gigi’s Playhouse: Connect with children, teens, and young adults with Down Syndrome. If you’re interested in helping out, please email rochester@gigisplayhouse.org. Volunteering opportunities include literacy and math tutors, helping those with Down syndrome learn to read or do math.  

For other ideas for service during this time, click here.

The junior theme is “Option for the Poor” and should focus on service to the hungry, homeless, or those affected by poverty. The standard 20-hour requirement will be reduced to 10 hours.  

This requirement will be re-evaluated and adjusted as needed as the year unfolds. Examples of service that fulfill this theme include volunteering at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, food bank, or with an organization working with refugees, to name a few. Pope Francis also speaks of reaching out to those on the “existential peripheries,” those who struggle in their search for meaning and happiness. In that light, opportunities for this theme include but are not limited to:  

Hour Children: Volunteer with women who were/are incarcerated and their children. Hour Children’s mission is to help incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children successfully rejoin the community, reunify with their families, and build healthy, independent, and secure lives. Hour Children’s name acknowledges the critical hours that impact a child’s life with an incarcerated mother – the hour of her arrest, the hour of their visit, and the hour of their reunification. Email Ms. Sarah Murphy at smurphy@hourchildren.org. They are looking for  volunteers to help with several opportunities 

    1.) Tutoring and homework help for teens and children.  

    2.) Tutoring help adults getting their GED 

    3.) English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring 

Women’s Care Center: Run by mother of alumnus Will Harvey. The Center is looking for volunteers to work inside as well as people to pray outside abortion clinics. They need clothing and items for babies from newborn to toddler (diapers, formula, bottles, pacifiers,  etc.).  

Center for Youth: Elaine Spaul needs volunteers to cook on-site, deliver homemade meals, tutor students, sort through donations, donate age-appropriate clothing such as hoodies,  sweats, jeans, flannels, etc. They also need items from their shelters and transitional housing programs.  

Letter Writing: Write letters to people experiencing isolation. Given the current need for social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, many people are experiencing isolation in new, more profound ways. To respond to this reality, you are invited to write a letter to a client or resident of any of the following programs. Some of the organizations include those serving women experiencing homelessness, assisted living facilities, people sleeping on the streets, immigrants in detention, and the troops.  

(1) Express your thanks to the troops: You can learn about how to write letters, make care  packages, shop using Amazon Smile, and more here:  

https://www.operationgratitude.com/express-your-thanks-virtual/ https://soldiersangles.org/programs/deployed-support/letter-writing-team/ https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/5-websites-where-you-can-find-and-write-to-soldiers/ 

(2) Write letters, pray, donate, and learn more about immigrants in detention with Lutheran  Immigration and Refugee Service. For our friends in immigration detention, the isolation that they experience has only been intensified by the authorities’ decision to indefinitely postpone visits from friends, family, and volunteers to slow the spread of the virus. These visits are a vital source of hope for our immigrant brothers and sisters, hungry for contact with the outside world.

Download the toolkit with more information to get involved here

(3) Write letters to the elderly with Sant Egidio: Letter-writing campaign to older adults living in nursing homes. Email Sant Egidio at santegidiousa@gmail.com and Ms. Sarah Moses at smoses@olemiss.edu to get started.  

(4) Write letters and send videos to those in assisted living in Camden, NJ, and North Philly.  Both sites host volunteers from the Romero Center. Reach out to supervisors here: Abigail House: Tess Marquez, 856-365-8500; tmarquez@abigail.com

Mail letters to Abigail House of Nursing and Rehabilitation – Tess Marquez, 1105 Linden Street, Camden, NJ 08102. 

(5) Inglis House: Patti Veltri, 215-878-5600; patricia.veltri@inglis.org 

Mail letters to Volunteer Coordinator, Patricia Veltri, 2600 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131. 

(6) Write letters to people who are detained. Reach out to local nonprofits that serve migrants to learn ways to support them at a distance. Additionally, send a “Postcard of Hope” here

    Be My Eyes: Assist blind and low-vision people. Be My Eyes is a free app that connects those with vision difficulties with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call. 

For other ideas for service during this time, click here.

Seniors will still be required to complete a significant capstone service project for graduation. If a senior has a project that abides by the restrictions placed by COVID-19, he may complete a traditional Capstone. Note that the Capstone ought to be a substantial, standalone project with at least 25 hours of volunteer work focused on serving the poor, marginalized, or underserved. Any hours a student accumulates for a project that has not been pre-approved will not be allowed to count towards that project. The project will preferably include contact with a population in need, as kinship with the marginalized is an integral part of Christian service.

Contact Mr. Verghese on Schoology at cverghese@mcquaid.org, or see him in his office in  Mission & Ministry if you’re looking for ideas.  

There are numerous local nonprofit and charitable organizations that McQuaid has relationships with that have consistent volunteer needs. Some of these organizations are listed below with contact information for volunteering and the themes they will fulfill:

Sisters of Saint Joseph Motherhouse – Run by the order of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the Motherhouse is a hub for their congregational life and home for many retired nuns and priests. Responsibilities for volunteers will mainly be working with the elderly, retired Sisters of Saint Joseph living at the Motherhouse. Opportunities include playing board games with residents, accompanying them on walks, or completing projects such as recording their stories. This is a great opportunity to learn more about working with the elderly and really brighten up their day. Anyone interested should contact Martha Mortensen at mmortensen@ssjrochester.org. Hours fulfill freshman or sophomore themes

St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality, Catholic Worker House – Founded by Dorothy Day, the Catholic Worker movement is dedicated to serving the poor and resisting social injustice. The St. Joseph’s House serves meals and provides shelter to the poor and homeless of Rochester. Volunteer opportunities include helping serve and set up meals and staying overnight assisting those offered shelter. Anyone interested should contact the House Coordinator, Jasmin Reggler at (585) 353-9882 or jreggler@saintjoeshouse.org. Hours fulfill sophomore or junior themes.

House of Mercy – Founded in 1985, the House of Mercy is open 24/7 serving those affected by homelessness in Rochester. Service opportunities include working in the kitchen preparing and serving food, helping in the clothing distribution room, and working at the front desk as a greeter. To help our please fill out their volunteer application from their website. Hours fulfill junior theme.

Cameron Community Ministries – Being a “Man for Others” includes being a role model. Cameron has been serving the Cameron St.-Lyell Ave neighborhood for over 30 years. They help provide donations, serve meals, and most importantly offer an afterschool program for those in the neighborhood. If you like getting to work with younger children, Cameron needs volunteers for its afterschool program (3:30 – 6 p.m.) tutoring, playing with, and setting examples for children from kindergarten to six years old. Contact Amanda Cannon at Amanda.Cannon@cameronministries.org to figure out how you can help. Hours fulfill sophomore or junior themes.

Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach – Mary’s Place helps provide the many refugees resettled in Rochester with donated clothes, English language tutoring, and other services. Students get to help sort donations and interact with clients. Times to volunteer are after school until 5 p.m. Monday-Friday or during the day Saturday. Contact marysplacevolunteer@gmail.com. Hours fulfill sophomore or junior themes.

Saint’s Place – Saint’s Place is another organization that supports refugees by providing household goods, clothing, and educational opportunities to those resettled in the Rochester area. They help set up new apartments for dozens of refugees every year! Volunteers can help with tutoring, work in the Clothing Closet, or assist with delivering supplies and furniture to refugees at their new homes. Only open daily from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Students can volunteer here on days off or during school breaks. Contact Michele Quinn at michele@saintsplace.org for more information on how to help. Fulfills sophomore or junior themes.

Foodlink –  Foodlink is the largest food bank serving the Rochester area along with the surrounding counties. Foodlink partners with a network of human service agencies to provide food to those in need and target the root causes of hunger. With more than 1 in every 7 Americans, and 1 in 5 children, facing food insecurity and hunger on a daily basis, Foodlink provides important solutions to a major issue. You can find out more about Foodlink, how to donate and volunteer on their website. Hours fulfill sophomore or junior themes.

Heart & Seoul Camp – Heart and Seoul is a Korean culture camp offered by McQuaid Jesuit. The camp is open to anyone who wants to learn more about Korean culture, history, and heritage. McQuaid Jesuit students ages 13-18 are needed to volunteer as CITs (counselors in training) and counselors working with the younger children. McQuaid Jesuit students get the unique opportunity to volunteer alongside students from Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul who will be leading many of the activities around Korean history and culture. Interested students should contact Mr. Hood for more information. Hours can fulfill the Sophomore theme.

Heritage Christian Stables – Using the method of therapeutic horsemanship, Heritage Christian Stables offers a therapeutic riding program for people of all ages with disabilities. Volunteers are needed to help with riding lessons as side walkers and leaders. This is an opportunity to interact not just with individuals with differing abilities or disabilities but also to gain experience in working with animals. This is open to all high school age students and hours can fulfill the freshmen or sophomore themes. Please contact Nicole Whilden at nwhilden@HeritageChristianServices.org to learn how you can volunteer.

Nativity Preparatory Academy – Following the Nativity model established by the Jesuits, Nativity Prep offers a tuition-free and values-based education to 5th through 8th grade students who were not well-served by the Rochester City School District and who come from economically disadvantaged families. One of things they do differently is offering daily, after-school enrichment activities. They are looking for students interested in working with children who would be able to help tutor in various subjects, coach sports like soccer or basketball, or moderate other enrichment activities. Volunteer obligations would be once or twice a week after school. Nativity Prep is located only a couple miles away from McQuaid right off of Clinton Avenue. Please contact Ms. Meredith Smith (msmith@nativityrochester.org) if interested. Hours volunteered here would fulfill the sophomore and junior themes.

Greenovation Inc. – Greenovation focuses on waste diversion and the recycling and reuse of items so they do not end up in a landfill. Instead of simply throwing household items away, Greenovation helps people reuse these items and educates the community on environmental impacts of landfills. They need volunteers most Saturdays anytime from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. To learn how to volunteer or get additional information please contact Kimberly Connolly at rochestergreenovation@gmail.com. Hours fulfill the freshman theme.

These are just a few of the many organizations in the Rochester area. Please contact Mr. Verghese, S.J. in Mission and Ministry with questions about these organizations or about what types of service might count for certain theme hours.