Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to educate to a social awareness which impels to action.
- The school educates to a critical consciousness that leads its total community to analyze and reflect on the values of society and to act for justice.
- The school offers all its members opportunities for direct service and advocacy and instills a life-long commitment to service.
- The school is linked in a reciprocal manner with ministries among people who are poor, marginalized and suffering from injustice.
- In our multicultural world, the school prepares and inspires students to be active, informed, and responsible citizens locally, nationally, and globally.
- The school teaches respect for creation and prepares students to be stewards of the earth's resources.
Visit the various blogs, websites and photo galleries of Summer Service, 2012...
Re-member: Pine Ridge Reservation
The constituency served were Native American Indians from the Lakota Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Mr. Ray O’Connor (Sacred Heart-Stuart Hall) has established a relationship with the Re-Member Project staff through his participation in their summer 2011 program as well as through student involvement from previous summers. Students engaged in such service as building decks and outhouses, and doing minor repair work. They learned about Native American culture and costumes directly from the Indians and the Re-Member Staff. The group toured important historical parts of the reservation.
Sprout Creek Farm, Poughkeepsie, NY
The students are schooled by all the cows and calves, sheep and lambs, goats and kids, bugs and plants, the land, the trees, the creek and pond, and, of course, one another. Summer in beautiful Hudson Valley offers one a chance to step back from complicated, fast-paced lives and take time to develop a better understanding of oneself and others, and of the local and global community. Days are filled with diverse experiences that will give students new tools to critically examine one’s rapidly changing world. A seminar each day provides both the focus and the framework for deeper understanding of the complexities and interconnectedness of land-based resources here in the U.S. and in the world. A day at Sprout Creek is like no other. Working in a community that includes so many different kinds of animals in a setting with rolling pastures, lush gardens, creeks and ponds, and barns full of hay fosters deep spiritual reflection. Sharing the responsibilities for the animals with other students, tending the garden, working with calves, lambs and kids, and cooking meals together from the fruits of one’s labors build a strong sense of community. Conversations that range from global hunger to the tiniest bug in our soil offer intellectual challenges to last a lifetime in a supportive and inspiring setting. Participants are actively involved in animal husbandry, gardening, cooking and using produce from our gardens.
Alligators to Zydeco
New Orleans, LA
In keeping with Goal III, Criterion 5, participants prepare to be stewards of the earth's resources. Through a hands-on approach, participants understand the ecological challenges in Southeast Louisiana and the cultural and socio-economic impact of wetland loss on this region. The ultimate goal of the project is facilitating authentic, meaningful participation in the restoration of the rich coastal wetland ecology of South Louisiana. Program activities emphasize the fragile nature of our environment; the intimate connections between the degradation of natural resources and the social, cultural, and economic impact on the regional community, both rural and urban; and the ultimate effect of wetlands loss on areas throughout the U.S. The schedule provides ample time for discussion and reflection, giving students the opportunity to prepare for each educational setting and part of the program, to determine personal goals and exchange ideas, and to draw inspiration from each other.
Participants travel to Cocodrie, LA, approximately two hours from New Orleans, to visit LUMCON. The education staff, along with science faculty members from Sacred Heart, lead a canoe trip of local wetlands. While canoeing, participants observe wetland ecology, gather water samples, and see first-hand the loss of our coastal wetlands. Upon return to the LUMCON facility, students analyze collected plankton specimens in the educational laboratory. Participants visit Jean Lafitte National Park Barataria Preserve, located approximately 20 miles from New Orleans, for a hike through bottomland hardwood forests, swamp, and marsh environments. We observe the lasting effects of Hurricane Katrina on the area ecosystem. In addition, the group participates in a wetlands restoration project. Through either BTNEP or Bayou Rebirth, students prepare marsh grasses for planting in the wetlands in the fall. The group also works with the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans at Samuel Green Charter School, located within walking distance of the Sacred Heart campus, in the garden and to interact with the local community.
Agape Summer Service Project
Seattle & Bellingham, WA
Presentation (pptx) (pdf)
The Agape Project serves the migrant farm worker community in Whatcom County, WA. Participants arrive a full- day before the actual work begins in order to discuss the project and build community. During the week of service, a variety of activities include a food drive, a migrant immersion day, service at the local migrant camps, and work at a food bank that the students prepare and run. Time will be spent educating the student about issues affecting migrant workers, including immigration. Prayer and reflection will be an essential part of the experience.
Hearts Fighting Hunger
Greenwich, CT and New York City, NY
Help change the world for the better! Too easily we focus solely on our own lives, letting the needs of others fall away. Join Hearts Fighting Hunger to help serve the needs of the hungry in New York City. Convent of the Sacred Heart, in Greenwich, Connecticut is just a short distance away from Manhattan and the Bronx. The group travels into Tompkins Square Park to deliver bagged breakfasts to homeless and others in need. The majority of time will be spent at Part of the Solution in the Bronx. POTS serves the neediest residents in Bronx County, offering a soup kitchen, a food pantry, and a clothing pantry. Participants get a chance to work in all three areas. Students reflect and discuss topics such as poverty and homelessness in the United States. Hearts Fighting Hunger will focus on hunger and poverty in the United States.
St. Madeleine Sophie Center
El Cajon & San Diego, CA
The volunteers assist the consumers (developmentally disabled adults) in various work capacities that include computers, janitorial, arts and crafts, supported employment, and gardening. The consumers look forward to the volunteers’ companionship during the day. The coming of the Sacred Heart girls is a big highlight of their year. The consumers at St. Madeleine’s Sophie Center are developmentally disabled adults who either need to learn skills to be placed in the workforce or to develop social skills so they can live comfortably in their communities. “St. Mad’s” has been in existence for a number of years: first serving developmentally disabled children, and then after the California mainstreaming education program was instituted, serving adults who can no longer receive support in the traditional school setting. During our week at the Center, both students and chaperones are assigned a schedule that includes working with the consumers in different capacities. The volunteers may help the consumers in the garden or hone their word processing skills. Some may go out in the community with the supported employment team or just help the consumers learn the social skills of shopping at a department store. Students also have the opportunity of visiting the Sophie Gallery where beautiful artwork and crafts are produced by the consumers.
The Juvenile Justice Summer Project provides high school students from various states a perspective of the experience of a teenager in our nation’s criminal justice system. In an urban setting and an ethnically diverse population, the students consider the context in which many of our nation’s teen-agers live. Students look at different support structures that work to help young people who are at risk for a variety of reasons (prevention programs, alternative high schools, etc.) Students learn about how the State of Illinois makes decisions about the prosecution of juvenile offenders as well as particular case-studies. Students visit Cook County Jail, adult and juvenile court, Northwestern University’s Children and Family Justice Center (Street Law, Girl Talk, etc.), a peer jury program in the Chicago Public School system. Students meet with advocates for juvenile justice, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, juvenile probation officers, social workers, educators, teenagers who have been in the justice system, college students researching juvenile justice, and others who have a role in the judicial system, in the communities, and in the lives of the young people.
Unlike a direct service opportunity, there is not a constituency being served. The students who participate in this project learn about the systems that exist and bring that knowledge back home and take some sort of action from their heightened awareness of the related issues.
The relationship with the agencies/groups primarily exists because of previous years of this project. However, we typically connect with Rosie Dowd, rscj in her work at Cook County Jail- and often have participated in some direct service with agencies that Sacred Heart serves during the school year.
Planet Earth, Dig It
Sprout Creek Farm, Poughkeepsie, NY
DIG IT is a week-long service program. The context is food. The issue is hunger. The effects of both abundance and scarcity impact all species and affect our spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental, balance, and ultimately the very health of the planet itself.
Participants will do animal chores, work in Sprout Creek Farm gardens, cook with the fruits of the harvest, develop traditional farm skills, work at the Lunch Box, a soup kitchen for the hungry and homeless of the area. Significant time will be spent in activities, reflection and hands on seminars that explore and analyze the significance of sustainable farms, and sustainable practices, and the impact of food choice for us and for the world. While building community with one another, participants will engage in activities that make the connection between actions and the earth’s resources. There will be time as well to cook, swim in the creek, and enjoy all the life at Sprout Creek Farm.
Clown Academy I
Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, Princeton, NJ
July 28-August 4
Clown Academy is a project designed for students entering grades 8th through 12th. Students will learn such circus skills as juggling, unicycle riding, stilt walking, tight rope walking, globe walking and swinging on a trapeze. Each student will also create a clown character complete with make-up, costume and wig. After two days of intensive training, students will share their skills by traveling into Trenton, NJ and teaching children from Martin House and Homefront, two community centers serving the poorest families in Trenton. Visits and performances are also planned to various local assisted living centers. The project will culminate in a full circus performance on the last day.
Visit and "like" Clow Academy on Facebook at
Visit Clown Academy on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clown-Academy/123731584378255.
The Times of Trenton
Project Harvest I AND II
Sprout Creek Farm, Poughkeepsie, NY
Project Harvest I July 29-August 3
Project Harvest II .August 5-August 10
Project Harvest is a week-long service-based educational program focused on the issues of food security, sustainable agriculture, and responsible food choices. Through service at a local soup kitchen and a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm, the participants gain a first-hand understanding of these issues. At the Lunch Box, the students not only prepare and serve food to local community members, but they will also eat lunch with those receiving service. This interaction fosters empathetic connections between the two groups. At the Poughkeepsie Farm Project, the students assist with a variety of gardening chores that need to be completed that day (including weeding, harvesting, planting, etc.). PFP members will also educate the students about CSA’s and what role they serve in local community. To highlight the interconnectedness of the two community-based organizations, the students harvest produce from the CSA and later donate it to the soup kitchen. During their time at Sprout Creek Farm, the students participate in a variety of farm chores relating to food production (cow and goat milking, gardening, harvesting, cooking, food preservation, feeding animals, etc.) in order to foster an understanding of the hard work required for sustainable agriculture. Participation in chores also encourages an understanding of the interconnectedness of all aspects of a diverse agricultural setting. Through exposure to multiple community-based organizations addressing food insecurity, participants are encouraged to consider the differences between programs that reach the root of the problem and those that provide “Band-Aid” solutions.