How to Fulfill the Requirement
Our service program has changed in the last two years thanks to the efforts of a group of Commonwealth Cares students. They wanted to increase the impact, for both volunteers and the populations being served, of students' work, and to adjust our requirement to reflect the growing difficulty of finding placements for students under 16. In the spring of 2018, group service projects will be available for 9th graders for the second year.
For the class of 2019, 30 hours are required and should have been completed by the beginning of junior year. If you are in arrears during your junior year, volunteering with Commonwealth Cares is a great way to make up your hours, as long as you make sure that half your total hours consist of direct service (helping people face-to-face). If you take this route, you are responsible for reporting your hours to the Community Service Coordinator so you can receive credit for them.
You may also arrange an independent service project with a single organization, as described below. Remember that you must submit a proposal to the Community Service Coordinator before you start your service. We want to be sure you can receive credit for your hours--that you are working for an organization that really needs volunteer help, and that half of your required hours are spent in direct service.
For the classes of 2020 and 2021, 20 hours are required if you complete a group service project in the spring of 9th grade. Ninth graders will learn more about these later in the year. They will also have a chance to "meet" several of the organizations we serve at the 9th-grade Day of Service over the quarter break at the end of October. If you are exempt from the spring group projects because of your participation in sports or another commitment, 25 hours are required; if you simply opt out of the group projects, 30 hours are required. At least 15 hours should be completed before the start of your sophomore year and the rest before the beginning of junior year.
Finding an Organization
For all community service that is not arranged by the school (either a group service project or Commonwealth Cares), here are the steps you need to follow:
To find an organization, consult with any of the Commonwealth Cares organizers or with the Community Service Coordinator, or search Teen Life and Boston Cares (for Boston Cares, make sure you check the minimum age required for each opportunity).
To encourage you to get to know the city and its people better, we strongly recommend service at an organization new to you. If you are already familiar with an organization and want to continue working with it, we recommend doing half of the requirement there and half with a new organization.
Consider a project in service for Project Week (while time spent on a project does not count toward the requirement, it is an opportunity for a student to get to know a particular organization better). In any case, arrange to visit organizations you are considering and ask questions about the work you would be doing. Find out the name of the person who would be supervising you.
1. Before you begin service, submit a Proposal Form for approval by the community service coordinator.
2. After service, and in order for credit to be earned, you need to write and turn in a reflective essay outlining the experience. Your supervisor at the organization where you volunteered needs to submit an Evaluation Form.
For questions, contact Community Service Coordinator Catherine Brewster.