Service & Outreach

Community Service Program

We are in the process of revising our Community Service Program. In the 2023-2024 school year,  community service will be a requirement for all students. We want our students to recognize service for what it is, namely an indispensable component of being “the Faithful Man.” This is one reason why our school motto is: “Think. Lead. Serve.” We want service to be a genuine expression of the student’s faith life and a joyful response to God’s unconditional love for him. We want our students to be like Christ, who “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).

Specific details of the Community Service requirement will be made available in the near future. We want our students to be able to do community service over the summer, so please visit this page again for updates as they become available.
The program is designed to sensitize students to the needs of others in their communities—especially children, the elderly, the disadvantaged, the poor, and the handicapped. Through their volunteer efforts, students will have the opportunity to spiritually mature as they learn that serving others is at the heart of the Gospel. By serving others, we emulate Christ, whose own ministry was one of service to others. Performing community service is central to our school’s mission, and it contributes to the student’s formation as the Faithful Man.

Documenting Your Hours:
We have not yet decided how we will ask our students to document their service hours. That decision will be made in concert with our new Campus Minister, who will be starting the position soon.
Qualifying Service:
All projects must benefit people, not animals. The projects must be above and beyond a student’s (a) family responsibilities, both immediate (father, mother, sister, brother) and extended (grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles) and (b) responsibilities as a member of a school or community group (e.g., National Honor Society, Student Government, sports programs). You may not be absent from school or leave early to do service hours, unless you are participating in a project we sponsor. If there is any doubt about the kind of service that qualifies, the student should see his Theology teacher before doing a project. If you volunteer to coach children, the league or organization must be non-profit. A privately owned one does not count for our purposes, since all you would be doing in effect is saving the owner money by not having to hire someone else.

Non-Qualifying Service:
The following types of work do not count as service hours that we would formally recognize: SJR’s summer camp programs; any work for which you receive payment or remuneration; helping any for-profit business (even doctors, unless they are sponsoring a free clinic or charitable event); coaching anyone enrolled in a for profit agency (local recreation leagues are okay); tutoring or mentoring; child care for a relative or neighbor (e.g., babysitting); helping political organizations (unless they are sponsoring a charitable event that helps the whole community); helping neighbors with any work they can do themselves and/or afford to pay someone to do it; helping a relative “at the office”; and helping students older than 6th grade. For the handicapped, any grade level is acceptable. Your service must benefit the community at large, the elderly, the poor, the handicapped, children, or disadvantaged people. Doing something “for free” does not automatically qualify it as community service. It is your responsibility to know what kind of service counts. When in doubt, ask.

Suggestions for Service Hours:
We will be offering service opportunities to our students throughout the school year. In addition, students may identify their own projects and sites. This hands-on approach allows them to choose projects suited to their own interests and schedules. Some suggested projects are as follows: blood bank, charity organization, coaching grammar school children (nothing beyond 6th grade), elderly people (e.g., nursing home, assisted living facility), E.M.T. (ambulance), environmental clean-up, fire department, food kitchen or pantry, Habitat for Humanity, handicapped people (e.g., Special Olympics), homeless shelter, hospital volunteer, Knights of Columbus, parish volunteer (altar server, CCD teacher or aide, general help, lector, retreat team, Youth Group), police department, public library, Veterans Home, any drive conducted for needy people or any fundraiser for an established charity

Recognition for Outstanding Service:
Just as we acknowledge students for their outstanding performance in other areas of school life, we will continue to recognize those students who do outstanding amounts of service. We will therefore present an award to the student who accomplishes the highest number of service hours in each grade. Theology teachers are at liberty to offer incentives and recognition to their students at their own discretion.

Students are granted the opportunity to serve the eldest of their communities. Groups of students travel to area nursing homes and assisted living centers to engage senior citizens and bring more energy to their retired, leisurely lifestyles, especially combating the underserved needs of the elderly. The program's aim is to build bridges between the generations as they both learn from each other while building new friendships.

The program runs on the 1st Monday (Dcn. Sisco) and 3rd Tuesday of each month.

Every January, St. Joe's students travel down to our nation's capital to join their voices with tens of thousands of other pro-life aligned groups. Read more about last year's experience printed in the Catholic Advocate here.
Each year, after everyone else leaves for Christmas break, the chorus sticks behind to go caroling to nearby assisted living homes and an early education center. The event is usually a hit with spreading joy and cheer for all to hear. Read about it in the latest issue of NJ Catholic.
Thank you for all your help to provide more than 100 turkeys and 5,000 pounds of food items to the Office of Concern in Englewood, NJ and People to People in Nanuet, NY.
Once again, St. Joe’s students have responded to a problem in our society: 4.2 million teens will face homeless this year. In response to this issue, St. Joe’s students have overwhelmingly stepped up to sleep out for one night at the school, experiencing a little of what it is like to be homeless while also bringing awareness and raising money for Covenant House in their efforts to serve homeless teens. After both events (because it's the biggest student sleep out in the country!) we had 242 students and over $91,000 raised for Covenant House.
At the Sleep Out events, the students had the chance to hear from current and former residents of Covenant House and learn more about the organization. As part of the immersion, the students also attended classes the next day since their peers on the streets must do the same, every day. Please read more about last year's experience in the Guardian.
Thank you again to those who helped donate to our Candy Drive. We were able to make 1,000 candy baggies for St. Benedict's in Newark and St. Anthony's in Nanuet, NY to make their Halloween parties a bit sweeter! We also sent some candy down to the Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus so the residents had some candy to share with any trick-or-treaters for the holiday.