Upper School Christian Service
Service hours give our students the opportunity to reach out to others who truly need what they have to offer: their time and their talents. Students can experience and share God’s love in concrete ways through their words and their actions in ministry to others. They can make a real difference in the lives of others.
The service experience can also lead to self-discovery and self-growth. Hopefully our students will come to realize through this process that they receive far more than they could ever give, for service to others is service to God and promotes self-awareness and maturity. As Jesus said, “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers and sisters, you do for me” (Matthew 25:40).
The commitment of service to others is a graduation requirement for all Austin Prep Upper School students. Students must complete 10 hours of service each year that they are enrolled in the Upper School for a total of 40 hours by the end of their senior year to be eligible for graduation. This graduation requirement is absolute and non-negotiable as service makes up a significant portion of the Austin Prep Mission. The deadline for senior service hours as well as the Senior Service Paper for the 2021-2022 is April 3, 2023. Grades 9-11 should have completed and submitted their hours by April 28, 2023.
Students should seek approval using the Pre-Approval Google form located on the Student Portal on Veracross. Approved hours should be submitted through the MobileServe App,
Service Site Guidelines
The primary goal of the Austin Prep Service Program is to facilitate opportunities of direct service, where students meet individuals who are in need, who are at the heart of deep suffering and injustice, face to face.
We understand that there are many incredible opportunities for our students to spend their time which benefit our world and our communities, but do not include interacting with individuals experiencing suffering or injustice in any significant way. Of course, we encourage our students to continue to participate in activities like conservation projects, environmental clean ups, altar serving, babysitting, camp counseling, teaching Sunday school, volunteering at animal shelters, and various projects for raising money. However, these opportunities do not necessarily give students the chance to meet individuals who are at the heart of deep suffering and injustice. We will gladly log these types of activities as “Volunteer Hours” on your student’s transcript in order to present an accurate representation of how they have spent their time, which we know is valuable and sparing.
Service Program Process
Select your service site and seek approval. Many students find their service sites through Austin Prep programs and clubs. However, you are also welcome to seek out service opportunities that are closer to home or which help populations that you feel especially called to serve. Once you have decided on where you’d like to serve, you must have your site officially approved. To do this, you will need to complete the Service Approval Google Form.
Commit to your service. Once you’ve been approved, reach out to your service site and begin serving! Remember, we are not the experts on who needs help or how to help them. Arrive with an open mind, a flexible and willing spirit, and a positive attitude. Ask questions about how you can be most helpful today and engage with the people you are serving. HAVE FUN! You have the power to make this either a miserable assignment or a meaningful and potentially life-changing experience.
Log your hours. Hours are to be submitted through the MobileServe app. As you complete your service, keep in mind that you will need the contact information, email address, and signature of your site supervisor. A photo of your service should also be submitted. Please make sure to check with the site supervisor about taking photos, especially in settings with young children. In cases where you cannot take photos while doing the service, you may submit photos of yourself with staff and other volunteers, or in front of a location's sign or building.
Senior Service Paper
Seniors at Austin Prep will have experienced at least 40 hours of significant and meaningful service, though most students find that they have far exceeded this requirement. The Senior Service Paper provides these students the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned about God, themselves, and others throughout their entire service experience at Austin Prep. The Senior Service Paper Guidelines can be found here.