by Nadia Chaves '92
Upper School Service Learning
Real Opportunities for Service in Education (ROSE)
In the ROSE program, each student chooses a cause and initiates an independent action plan. The projects span from local initiatives within our school community and county to global initiatives around the world. San Domenico students like to get involved in a cause: promoting sustainability, spreading awareness about human rights violations, or making phone calls for the upcoming election. By the time they graduate, students have thought a lot about how to change the world—and are ready to do it.
At San Domenico the values of service and social justice are central to our Dominican mission. All students take the social justice course in their junior year as an Ethics, Philosophy, and World Religions requirement which helps students develop a systemic approach to understanding the social and environmental challenges of our day. As students explore a wide range of contemporary issues, from the ramifications of the global economy to human rights, they are challenged to develop an integrated understanding of the social, political, ecological, and economic dimensions of striving for justice in the modern world through a variety of readings and projects, classroom involvement, and attending on-campus events.
A vital facet of the junior year is the design of a service learning project. San Domenico students are not simply “helping” by volunteering, or logging volunteer hours. ROSE is a two-year commitment to an issue with reciprocal benefits for both the community and the student. The project begins when the student writes an Action Plan where she identifies a justice issue that will be the focus of her project. She proceeds to research the systemic roots of this issue by addressing the following:
- Why does this issue exist?
- What are important historical aspects of this social justice concern?
- Which of the Catholic Social Teachings are related to this problem?
- Where is there a need in my community (local and/or global) for my service commitment to this issue?
- What are government, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and other non-profit organizations doing to address this issue?
Each student reads an approved book (novel, non-fiction, or memoir) related to the issue, then coordinates, leads, and organizes a community outreach component consisting of 40 service hours. This culminates in a final presentation in the spring of senior year, where students shares experiences and educate their community on the issue.
Examples of San Domenico Student ROSE Projects
Local: Homeward Bound, Canal Alliance, Sonoma Fire Department, Burn Unit at San Francisco Memorial Hospital, Marin Municipal Water District
Abroad: Bosnia, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Peru, Hawaii
Students have had the opportunity to meet McArthur Fellow and foreign affairs expert Mark Danner, Pulitzer-Prize winning genocide scholar Samantha Power, Sarajevo-based human rights activists/journalists from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, representatives from various humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF, the International Commission on Missing Persons, International Organization on Migration, Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia Carla del Ponte, judges from the State Court of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and even Bosnian pop star Dino Merlin.
Interested in learning more?
by Nadia Chaves '92
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