Each individual student at St. John’s has a number of service hours required of them each year, and as a LaSallian school there are a number of different ways to give back to the community.
St. John’s connects students to Catholic charities all around the country and offers service trips with different purposes both around the country and internationally. Here in D.C., Christian service happens in soup kitchens, summer camps, and tutoring sessions at the San Miguel School. Many students return to their former elementary schools and provide their service through Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). We interviewed Mr. Patzke about the different types of service available at school, and how students take advantage of these opportunities.
“Every student in Lasallian schools learn from the Lasallian core principles, because they come from the life of De La Salle. We do service because they’re a part of all of these core principles. That’s where we get the idea of Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve. The entire school participates in Christian service through the religion service requirement, and students constantly do more service than we know about.” Mr. Patzke said.
“The community service opportunities offered by St. John’s all connect back to the LaSallian core principles of faith. A lot of people don’t realize that part of the golden rule is that we should love our neighbor as ourself. The difference between our service and civic service is that it’s out of love and our faith. St John Baptist de La Salle recognized Christ in children and the poor and was called to educate them because he saw their value as people,” Mr. Patzke said.
One example of Lasallian service this past year was the work of Dylan Deffinbaugh ‘19. He helped a little boy at his church every Sunday with hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain, typically in young children, enlarging the head and sometimes causing brain damage.. His community work was through CYO which is very popular association for students who get there service hours done.
“I would highly recommend others do a similar project because of the impact we had on one another. He is like a little brother to me and I am always joyed to see him no matter how bad the day I’m having,” Deffinbaugh said.
Another example of Lasallian service is the project completed by Layla Michel ‘19 over the summer. Michel worked with her mother in Carrefour and Port au Prince Haiti as a part of the Helping Hands Organization. She worked with a team of doctors, treating different children and spending time with kids.
“The relationships I made were amazing. I bonded with a lot of kids there and the doctors/nurses treated me like an adult. I played with many kids while they were treated and offered a lot of emotional support. I visited a school where i made a lot of cool new friends and I also got to see some of my family. I definitely think everyone should do some type of international service (if you have the means to do so)!..Haiti has a special place in my heart and there’s plenty of opportunities to do service there,” Michel said.