A fellowship of students and adults who are helping to fulfill part of the Bishop Luers mission of serving each other and the community through the development, planning, and implementation of service projects.
SODALITAS SERVICE DAY
April 13, 2017
Through Sodalitas, Bishop Luers will be hosting the first every School-wide day of service in the community. This will be the day that all Sodalitas groups go out into the community to implement the service projects they spent all year designing and planning for.
FORT WAYNE, Indiana – At Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, service-learning in the form of a curriculum called Sodalitas has made an impact on the students and staff of the school and the Fort Wayne community.
Bishop Luers Principal Tiffany Albertson says service learning is important because, “As persons of faith, Jesus asks us to do good to others. Our Sodalitas day was a great success.”
Heather Briggs, a Bishop Luers science teacher, was this year’s Sodalitas moderator along with co-moderators Joni Kuhn, Meg Ryan and Lori Price.
Choosing Holy Thursday, April 13, as the service day this year to go out into the community, the 600 students in 30 teams dispersed throughout Fort Wayne to share their work ethic and talents to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Their work accounted for over 1,800 service hours in just one day.
Some of the location sites were St. Henry Parish, St. Joseph Parish, St. Louis Besancon Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, St. Therese Parish, Treasure House, neighboring Unity Lutheran School, Fairfield Elementary School, Martin Luther King Montessori School, Foster Park, Eagle Marsh, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Kingston, the Botanical Gardens, Hope House, The Autism Center, Community Harvest, Saint Anne Nursing Home, River Bend Nursing Home, Coventry Meadows, Vincent Village and Visiting Nurse and Hospice, the Allen County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Their service efforts included constructing and clearing raised beds at a community garden, distributing mulch, raking, cleaning and working on construction projects to working with residents and clients. Students all gained the opportunity to serve in the community.
“We hope that our students continue to serve others on their own,” said Principal Albertson.
Student feedback was favorable. “I love how it teaches us to be social and work in groups,” said one student about Sodalitas.
“I like that we get to meet new people,” another student wrote. “I appreciate volunteering more because what we did was hard work.”
“I think it was a good way to give back to the community,” another student said.
The first service day of the school year was in the fall on the Bishop Luers grounds. One student compared the spring service day and said, “I liked the last day the best. I got to know my group better on Thursday and it was fun. Today especially, I felt closer to God. Being with the older people and meeting them and cleaning up just made me feel closer to God.” And cleaning up litter made the student “aware of how much there was.”
Briggs, the Sodalitas moderator, explained the history of the service project. “We were the only private school that did not have some sort of service learning,” Briggs said, “so we developed Sodalitas to build community within the school. We used small groups led by students with adults as mentors to build a ‘service family.’” Sodalitas means “fellowship.”
Now that the project is wrapped up for this year and evaluations accounted, the school is already planning for next year.
“As we start preparing for next year,” said Principal Albertson, “we are looking at how we can improve and expand school-wide service learning.”
“Upcoming plans are to keep the groups the same to build on this ‘family,’” Briggs noted, “bring in some Catholic Identity into some lessons on service and the importance of service and connect Sodalitas more to our school’s mission and vision.”