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Service Learning


Service is at the heart of our mission.

The John Carroll School seeks to instill in students a mindset of service and highly encourages direct service to the poor, infirm, or homeless. We continually work “to develop in our students, the attitudes, values, knowledge, and skills to empower them to accept their obligations as human beings to contribute actively, intelligently and responsibly for a better world as they strive daily to ‘act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with God,' their ultimate end." Philosophy, Paragraph 4

God has a great love for the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized. This thread, woven throughout Scripture, is also emphasized in Catholic social teaching. Matthew’s Gospel reminds us that:

“Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me” (Mt. 25:40)...“Whatever you have neglected to do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you have neglected to do to me” (Mt. 25:45). 

During their high school years, most students will experience several different types of service. Students typically begin with the satisfaction of bringing real relief to immediate needs by “giving to” (e.g. collecting clothing and food items; raising money for a cause) and “doing for” (e.g. stacking shelves; stuffing envelopes; serving meals). Each John Carroll student is required to give 60 hours of service in order to graduate. It is the student's responsibility to submit service hours forms in a timely manner and to monitor the number of hours earned quarterly in Veracross. 

Conditions for service to qualify

  • Freshmen may begin accumulating service hours (following all the appropriate guidelines) after their Freshman Orientation meeting held in the spring prior to their freshman year.
  • All service is given to others freely.  Any activity that receives monetary compensation or has other strings attached will not be awarded hours.
  • Service hours performed to fulfill John Carroll’s community service requirement must be performed for this purpose exclusively and not be used to fulfill another organization’s requirement.
  • Parents may not sign as supervisors of the service of their own children.
  • Forms must be COMPLETELY filled out before submitting. Be sure to fill in the student email address, type of service (community or direct), service start date, location, phone number, total hours, supervisor’s signature and the reflection questions.

Direct, relational service

As students mature and come to a deeper awareness and appreciation of the existence of the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized in our society, they often become more ready to seek opportunities for direct, relational service that involves “being with” and the forming of sustained, ongoing, face-to-face relationships. While there may be some element of “doing for” or empowering, this type of service also typically includes conversation and spending time in companionship. This type of service invites the student to a deeper level of commitment and engagement. It tends to break down the distinctions between “giver” and “receiver.” Direct, relational service activities push comfort zones and often put students in close contact with people whose worlds are very different from their own. This type of service can break down stereotypes and widen circles of compassion.

Special consideration given to direct, relational service

Direct, relational service (as described above) places special demands on the student. While some may relish such opportunities, many students find that direct service is very challenging. In recognition of this more demanding level of engagement, students who give direct, relational service in accordance with the procedures outlined by the School will earn 2-for-1 credit for hours given. Example: a student giving 12 hours of approved direct service would be credited with 24 hours towards the 60 hours required for graduation.

To earn this special consideration, students must follow the procedures listed above AND:

  • prior to the service, have the preliminary approval of the Service/Service Learning Coordinator;
  • upon completion, receive confirmation that the service given did meet the School’s standard for direct, relational service.

There will be no partial credit for direct, relational service. Hours that are denied for recognition at the 2-for-1 direct, relational service level will accumulate towards the regular 60-hour requirement. Students should note that the key factor in determining whether the service is direct is not the location where the service took place but the activity the student engaged in. To be considered as direct, relational service, there must be evidence that the student worked to develop a personal rapport with a person from a poor, oppressed, or marginalized population. Examples of places that may provide opportunities for students to earn direct, relational service hours include: Gallagher Services (working with disabled adults); the ARC; Camp St. Vincent for homeless children; room visits at nursing homes; tutoring Special Needs students at area public schools.

Procedures for fulfilling the service requirement

  • Prior to the service being rendered, Service Learning Online Service Form must be completed and submitted.  
  • Follow the instructions found at the above link
  • Complete the service, obtain the signature of the supervising adult on the Service Confirmation Form, and write a reflection on the service experience.
  • Submit the form within 30 days. Service hours earned over the summer must be submitted by September 30th.

Community Service Requirements

Sixty hours of community service are required before graduation. Direct service hours must have prior approval from the Outreach Coordinator. Approved and completed direct service earns 2-for-1 credit for hours given. Parents please review your student report cards each quarter to tract service hours To help manage the requirement, the following schedule is  recommended:

Freshmen:        15 hours should be completed by the end of freshman year

Sophomore:      30 hours should be completed by the end of sophomore year

Junior:              40 hours must be completed by the end of junior year. If forty hours are not completed, the senior schedule will be withheld and the student will not be allowed to attend classes

Senior:              60  hours of service are required before graduation

Transfer students should consult the online Student Handbook for service hour requirements

For questions, please contact Mrs. Strawbridge,

Approved/Not Approved Types of Service


The following is a brief, but not conclusive, listing of sites and opportunities that have been accepted as  Approved for Community Service or Not Approved for Community Service. 

Non-Profit, Off Campus 

Soup Kitchens

  • Franciscan Center
  • Our Daily Bread
  • Bread and Beans
  • Manna House
  • Sharing Table
  • Moveable Feast
  • Meals on Wheels

Assisted Living/Nursing Homes

  • Angel’s Touch
  • Lorien Bel Air
  • Mariner Health of Bel Air
  • Mariner Health of Forest Hill
  • Brightview
  • Kelleher Adult Day Care


  • Upper Chesapeake
  • Union Memorial
  • Franklin Square
  • GBMC

Performing Special Services for the Poor

  • Neighbors in Need
  • Food Pantry
  • Food Bank

Tutoring After School

  • St. Margaret’s, Harford Day School, etc.
  • Southampton Inclusion Program
  • Religious Education Programs – CCD
  • Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Harford County

Performing Special Services for the Disadvantaged/Disabled

  • Special Olympics
  • Richcroft – Dedicated to providing person centered services to people with developmental disabilities
  • Normandy Farms Therapeutic Riding
  • Freedom Hills Therapeutic Riding
  • The ARC Northern Chesapeake Region
  • John Archer School
  • Gallagher Services

Other Opportunities (Refer to the Bulletin Board outside the Service Learning Office for additional suggestions)

  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Rebuilding – (Formerly Christmas in April)
  • H.E.A.R.T. – Working with and for the poor
  • Appalachia Work Camp
  • Anna’s House
  • Project Linus
  • Senior Olympics
  • American Red Cross
  • Students Serving Students

On Campus 

  • The Institutional Advancement Office
  • Open House
  • Mulch Madness

Not Approved: 

These may not be used for service hours:

  • NHS Required Service
  • Athletics teams
  • Non Athletics teams
  • Work completed for friends, relatives, faculty members
  • Places of employment (including student, friends, relatives)
  • Babysitting
  • Altar Serving
  • Participation in Liturgy and Prayer Services

**If there is a question relative to the service you hope to perform, ask Mrs. Susan Strawbridge in the Service Learning Office.

Online Service Form 

Online Service Form

Learn about the Archbishop John Carroll Service Honor Society 

Service Learning Opportunities