In July of 1973 Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J. (then Superior General of the Jesuits) gave an historic speech to the Tenth International Congress of Jesuit Alumni in Valencia, Spain.
In what has become one of the hallmark statements of his speech he gave this charge.
“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.”
With these words Fr. Arrupe recommitted Jesuit schools across the world to making service to others an integral part of their mission. His challenge was that all students would become, in his words, “men and women for others.”
Brebeuf Jesuit has embraced Fr. Arrupe’s call to servant leadership in many ways. First and foremost, all students complete a number of hours in direct service through the Community Service and Social Justice classes. Students also participate in service immersion trips, social justice conferences, and events such as Disability Awareness Day and summer sports camp for inner city youth. In addition, consistent with the Jesuit model of education, students reflect on their service experiences to better understand what it truly means to be a man or woman for others.
Community Service Events
Sophomore Service Fair
In order to provide our students with better insight on what types of service are available to them, the Community Service Department organizes an annual service fair. This most recent year we hosted 30 agencies that we have a working partnership with in the greater Indianapolis area. Representatives from these agencies were able to speak with the sophomore class about volunteer opportunities available and the types of services their agencies provide.
Disability Awareness Day
The Disability Awareness Day for freshmen is an annual event during which members of the Freshman class get the opportunity to experience what life would be like with a disability. Each year, Occupational Therapy students from the University of Indianapolis come to Brebeuf to put on this event. Held in the Wellness Center Annex, the event will feature several stations, each highlighting a disability or impairment commonly seen in Occupational Therapy. The Freshmen will participate in an activity at each station that highlights adaptive and compensative methods for completing day to day activities while living with disabilities including paraplegia, amputation, blindness, arthritis, loss of sensation, perceptual motor deficits, and more. Disability Awareness Day helps Freshman gain an understanding of the numerous challenges faced everyday by individuals living with disabilities.
Freshman Service Days
The Community Service office is excited to offer service opportunities available exclusively to Freshmen. Approximately 4 times each semester, various one-day service trips are offered to members of the Freshman class. This gives the Freshmen a chance to serve in their community while also getting to spend time outside of school and form friendships with their new classmates. Examples of service projects for Freshman Service Days include serving at food pantries, neighborhood cleanups, and serving meals to the homeless.
We have found that once students start doing their required service during their Junior or Senior year, they often find that they are passionate about it and continue on with their service until they leave for college. We hope that the Freshman Service Days get our students involved in and excited about community service earlier so that they don’t have to wait until their Junior or Senior year to become find their love of service.
Summer Sports Camp for inner city Youth
The Community Service Department collaborates with the Joseph Maley Foundation to offer the annual Service and Sports Camp. For this camp we invite several of the service agencies where many of our students are currently involved as volunteers. The purpose of the camp is twofold. The primary purpose is to provide youth from low income families an opportunity to experience sports, but with the focus being on the life lessons students learn from participating in high school athletics. The secondary purpose of the camp will is for the benefit of the Brebeuf students. This is a way for them to serve others through something they are passionate about. In addition they have the opportunity to build relationships with the campers and ideally continue to volunteer with them beyond this one day event. This is consistent with the nature of the service requirement at Brebeuf which asks the students to participate in 40 hours of direct service with a marginalized or impoverished population.