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The City Journals

Juan Diego Introducing New Community Service Program

Sep 08, 2015 03:39PM ● By Bryan Scott

Juan Diego Introducing New Community Service Program

By Julie Slama

Draper - After examining the community service requirements for Juan Diego Catholic High School  that students provide each year, administrators decided to revamp its program.

“We were focused on the number of hours of service they give each year, but not on what it means as part of social justice,” Juan Diego director of advancement Molly Dumas said.

Students have been expected to provide 25 hours each year, which they could do by volunteering at an animal shelter, serving the homeless or any number of ways to accumulate the hours.

“We were finding students were giving the time and energy, but weren’t making the connection to what are the issues that surround these acts of service and how can they address these social issues,” she said.

Beginning with senior high school students, the new community service program will have students work side-by-side with those who are making a long-term difference in social justice issues, such as case workers with families who find themselves homeless, or working with Habitat for Humanity and addressing issues while serving those in need. 

“We want students to grasp more meaning and immerse themselves in the experience. We know if they’re engaged in a social problem and addressing the problem straight on by serving others, the hours of service will come. More importantly, they’ll want to do it because they’ll love doing it,” she said.

This year’s projects, which are still being planned, will be available to all students on the campus and will most likely occur in January, Dumas said. The service program is being coordinated by former campus life director Dave Brunetti.

Dumas said that she sees people have a misconception of today’s students as being selfish and lazy. She sees high school students as aware of the needs of those around them, but not sure how to mobilize themselves in making the difference.

“We know kids want to help, but they aren’t sure how to go about it. They have so much willingness and time to give, but need the tools to do it. This will make it easier for them to step up and not just give time, but understand the impact and be part of the solution. We want to give our students more meaningful projects that tie into social justice and so when they’re in the community and working as a CEO or a social worker, they will have these connections,” she said.