Junior Service Experience FAQs

What is the Junior Service Experience?

Every Prep student must complete 60 hours of service for people who are poor and/or marginalized during their junior year. The goal of this program is to introduce Prep students to the challenges of the world in a very real, impactful way – an essential part of a Jesuit education. As Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach, the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, once stated: “When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change. Personal involvement with innocent suffering, with the injustice others suffer, is the catalyst for solidarity which then gives rise to intellectual inquiry and moral reflection.” In other words, this experience can be, literally life-changing.

What do students need to turn in to complete this experience?

The verification sheet confirming their completion of 60 hours, and a reflection project. Both of these must be turned in for a student’s junior service to be marked complete.

What is the timeline for this experience?

Juniors can begin completing hours for this experience after the last day of their sophomore year.  For the Class of 2021 that means June 6, 2019. All hours and the reflection project are due by the end of the Third Marking Period next year.

What sort of service work is allowed?

All service work for this experience must benefit people who are poor and marginalized. This is an essential to the learning goals of this experience. Additionally, at least half of the hours must be direct service (directly working with people who are poor and marginalized).

Some examples of direct service:

  • Working at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
  • Working with students at a school/afterschool program in an underserved area
  • Working at a nursing home or program for people with developmental disabilities

Some examples indirect service:

  • Building a house or playground
  • Clean up, repair, or beautification projects in underserved areas
  • Organizing donations in a food pantry or thrift shop

What sort of work is NOT allowed?

Only service for people who are poor and/or marginalized counts towards Christian Service hours. Other types of work, while great in and of themselves, do not fulfill the requirements of the experience. Some examples:

  • Paid work (lifeguarding, paid camp counselor jobs, etc.)
  • Altar serving or leading youth group at your parish
  • Going on Prep retreats (i.e. Kairos)
  • Helping out family members (mowing your grandparents’ lawn, cleaning out the attic, etc.)

Can I work at more than one site?

Ideally, students will complete their 60 service hours at one site in order to build a deeper relationship with its clients and learn more about their work. However, if a student would like to divide their hours between two or more sites, they should be sites that serve the same population of people (i.e. people experiencing homelessness, people with developmental disabilities, etc.).

Is there a list of pre-approved service sites?

Yes! You can find it here. We regularly update this page, although it is by no means comprehensive. If you know of a local site that meets the requirements of the Junior Service Experience, just contact me at doughertyj@spprep.org and I can approve it. Likewise, if you are unsure whether a site meets the requirements, please reach out to me.

What is the reflection project?

The reflection project is just as important as completing the hours: it tells us about your experience, and what you learned from it. With this project, you’ll have the chance to reflect on where and who you served, and what you’re taking away from your time there. The project revolves around several core questions, and there a number of different options for completing it. You can find full guidelines here.

What happens if I don’t complete the Junior Service Experience?

Students who do not complete the Junior Service Experience by the March 13 deadline are not allowed to move up to the next class year, and must withdrawal from Prep. This experience is absolutely essential to a Prep education, and we take it very seriously. We expect students to do the same, and to be diligent about completing their hours and reflection projects by the deadline.

Do I have to complete the Christian service requirement if I’m not christian?

Yes. Prep is a Catholic school, which is why we view our program through the Christian mission to serve others and give glory to God. However, we also believe that the experience of service is extremely valuable to people of all faith traditions, and so it is required for all Prep students, Christian and non-Christian alike.

Can I count service hours from previous years towards the Junior Service Experience?

No. Hours completed during freshman and sophomore year count towards those years’ hour requirements. Only hours completed between June 6, 2019 and the end of the Third Marking Period in 2020 count for the Junior Service Experience.

What if I went on an immersion trip this summer?

Prep immersion trips cover the entire Junior Service Experience, and count for all 60 hours. No verification sheet is necessary: the fact that you went on the trip counts as verification. Your reflection project is the journal you wrote in during the week, which should have been collected by your chaperones (if not, please bring it to me at the beginning of the year). Journals will be returned! If you did an immersion trip through a third party organization (i.e. JusticeWorx), simply forward me your registration email as verification. If you have a journal from the week, I will accept that as a reflection project; if not, you must complete the regular reflection project.

What should I do if I’m having trouble completing my hours?

Talk to me! You can come see me in person (Office of Campus Ministry, basement of Shalloe) or email me at doughertyj@spprep.org. I can help you figure out time management, or find a good service site.