Service is integral to Friends Seminary’s educational mission, along with the disciplines of study and silence. Our Community Service Program strives to instill a sense of stewardship of the School community and respect for and responsibility to our urban neighborhood and beyond. By providing opportunities within the curriculum and in other relevant activities for students to witness and understand the needs of others, we hope to prepare them for a life that includes service. Our goal is to integrate knowledge and understanding with compassion and social responsibility. Only through reflection and understanding the need to put our values into practice will students be able to grasp the importance to ourselves of the gift of caring for each other, for all humanity, and for the natural world.
Service is a deeply held value at Friends Seminary and has been since the school’s inception. Friends Seminary encourages ongoing service and reflection throughout a student’s time at the school because through such experiences, students develop lifelong habits and connections to the larger community that help establish their sense of public purpose and social responsibility. Therefore, students are expected to fulfill an annual community service requirement. This expectation incorporates in-school and out-of-school service experiences, guided student reflection, as well as formal opportunities for learning about pressing social and environmental issues. Service learning is embedded in some US courses and students participating in these classes will receive automatic credit toward their annual requirement. These course receive a special distinction with the course catalogue. Monthly school-organized opportunities are available to help students meet these requirements. Additionally, the Upper School Service Coordinator provides an online newsletter with service opportunities in the city. The Service Coordinator and Dean of Co-Curricular Programs will also work individually with students to match their interests with community organizations both locally and globally.
Upper School students are required to complete 25 hours of community service each year: 15 hours of out-of-school service, 5 hours of in-school service, and 5 flex hours. Flex hours can be noted as either in-school or out of school hours. Students are also expected to complete a minimum of one guided service reflection posted to the school’s service blog each year. Each posted reflection earns one hour toward either in-school or out-of-school service. The definitions below will help students understand the different service distinctions.
Out-of-school service includes any volunteer work that benefits the community beyond Friends Seminary. While out-of-school service will typically occur off-campus, there are occasions when the service will take place at school, such as the annual family service event, Friends Unite to Serve, or a school-hosted event that directly benefits a community off-campus. If a student has a question about whether a service opportunity qualifies for out-of-school credit, they should contact the Service Coordinator before they participate in the service activity.
In-school service includes any volunteer work that benefits the community at Friends Seminary by fulfilling a need within the school community. Typically, the work performed supports and enhances the day-to-day functioning of the school. In-School Service includes assisting teachers, staff, administrators, and coaches. In-School Service would also include helping with any special activities that the school sponsors, such as the annual Friends Auction, God’s Love We Deliver Bag Decorating event, or the Chinese New Year Celebration. Students are expected to complete 5 hours of in-school service each year.
Guidelines for Service
Students are responsible for coordinating their out-of-school service work (not including all-school service day).
Students are responsible for recording their service hours using the online form service.friendsseminary.org.
Completion of the service requirement must occur prior to the end of academic year. A student’s failure to meet the service requirement deadline will require that he/she make up the uncompleted hours the following academic year. These hours are in addition to the required service hours for the following year. An “INC” service grade will be noted on the student’s record until the service hours are made up. Once the hours are completed, the INC will change to a Pass.
Seniors must complete the service requirement to graduate. Seniors planning to participate in Senior Projects must complete their service requirement prior to being released for their project.
Student-Created Group Service Initiatives
Students can also serve in a leadership development role by developing group service initiatives. This is a great way for students to give of their time and talents to a cause that fits their personal interests. Credit for the time spent in designing and bringing these student service initiatives to fruition may be received under the approval and guidance of the Service Coordinator. Please take note of the following guidelines:
All projects must be pre-approved by the Service Coordinator and Dean of Co-Curricular Programs and have received the recommendation of the Service Committee.
Students interested in creating a Student Service Initiative should schedule a meeting with the Service Coordinator and/or Dean of Co-Curricular Programs to discuss ways to connect their peers and academic curriculum to their project.
All fundraising efforts must be pre-approved by the Service Coordinator and Dean of Co-Curricular Programs. Any fundraising efforts must be in keeping with the mission and spirit of the school and have at its core strong curricular connections and/or connections to student engagement.
Students can complete the out-of-school requirement during summer vacation. Working with non-profit organizations or participating in a volunteer program over the summer is truly a wonderful way to create a sustained, meaningful relationship with the population you are serving. In many cases, service performed over the summer leads to a relationship that continues into the school year and beyond. Please note that students must post a reflection that includes photos from their experience to the Friends service blog by the end of September. Instructions on how to post can be found on the service website.