The Service and Social Justice program at Jesuit Dallas is one of the most extensive high school service-learning programs in the State of Texas, and a leader among Jesuit schools, nationally. We work with over a hundred Catholic outreach organizations, schools, hospitals, special education centers, elderly care facilities, refugee networks, language centers and environmental programs. Our service / immersion educational model is grounded in the rich Catholic Social Teaching tradition. Students are formed as "Men for Others" through their work in local, domestic, and international initiatives.
Jesuit Dallas’ Service and Justice initiatives focus on direct service to the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized in our community. We are engaged in seven service sectors:
- Poverty & Homelessness
- Under-Resourced Education
- Elder Care
- Environmental Care
- Immigrant and Refugee Outreach
- Special Needs Care
Students are required to complete their service by volunteering with a non-profit organization from an approved listing of agencies and projects representing one of these seven service sectors.
The Freshman Experience - Fostering a Culture of Encounter
In many places...the culture of exclusion, of rejection, is spreading. There is no place for the elderly or for the unwanted child; there is no time for that poor person in the street. ... Have the courage to go against the tide of this culture of efficiency, this culture of waste. Encountering and welcoming everyone, solidarity – this is what makes our society truly human. Be servants of communion and of the culture of encounter! (Pope Francis, World Youth Day, July 27, 2013)A 9 month formation program, the freshman service experience is the first step in a journey towards understanding the Jesuit motto, “Men For and With Others.” It is intended to ground students in a firm understanding that our care for others begins first by fostering authentic friendships and relationships with the poor, the vulnerable, and the marginalized among us. We cannot truly serve the poor if we do not know the poor, if we do not encounter the poor. More importantly by entering into relationships with the suffering we deepen our friendship with God and his Christ. It is Christ who “identifies himself with the poor and the powerless, with all who are hungry and miserable. Every person in this condition is Christ’s brother or sister; that is why what is done for them is done for Christ himself”. (Men for Others, Father Pedro Arrupe, 1973)
The Sophomore Experience - Developing Empathy and Understanding Need
The Sophomore service experience is intended to further a student’s understanding of Christian charity and justice by providing them with experiences and opportunities to develop empathy through walking with and in the shoes of the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized. By doing so students will gain a better understanding of the needs of suffering, empowering them to serve in more impactful and meaningful ways.
The Junior Year Experience - Putting Love into Action
Charity calls on us as children of the one universal family whose Father is God, to cherish for one another active brotherly love second only to the love which we owe to Him.(Pastoral Letter of 1919, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1919 “Charity.”)
The Junior service experience asks Jesuit students to reflect on their relationships with the poor, vulnerable and marginalized, as well their understanding of the needs within our community to respond to Christ’s call to put love into action through Christian charity. Students will be challenged to examine their strengths, interests, and passions and begin to discern the ways in which those unique gifts intersect with the needs of the suffering.
The Senior Experience - A Commitment to Justice
“Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ - for the God-man who lived and died for all the world; men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.” (Men for Others, Father Pedro Arrupe, 1973)
Over the course of their time at Jesuit, students have developed a sense of compassion and empathy for the poor, vulnerable, marginalized and all who are victims of injustice. The senior service experience provides Jesuit students the opportunity to understand more deeply the systems of oppression and injustice that deny others their basic human rights and how they have knowingly and unknowingly contributed to such systems. By examining and putting into practice the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching, Jesuit seniors are challenged to consider how they might live their lives in selfless service to others, and choosing this as their primary ambition.
Direct service is “hands-on” help — often through agencies — which supports individuals seeking to develop vital skills and independence, ultimately leading them to be productive members of their community. Improving the lives of individuals then contributes to social change. Examples:
- School or Church Mission Trips or Outreach Programs
- Hospitals and Elderly/Assisted Care Residences
- Residential Summer Camps; Special Olympics
- Many Catholic Charities Programs
Indirect service, such as fundraising, supply and blood drives helps agencies achieve vital goals but does not involve “hands-on” help of people in need.