Service Six Feet Apart


Eamon Mohrbacher, Staff Writer

A core value of Seattle Prep’s philosophy is the “ideal of the well-rounded person who is…committed to doing justice in generous service to the people of God.”

During this difficult time, the Prep community would like to continue the effort of serving others, while staying safe and healthy. Prep students are serving others by re-thinking the traditional Magis Christian Service Program to fit in these socially distanced times. Prep believes service, “deepens [students]’s formation of Christian and human values and attitudes.”

Mrs. Ford, the Director of the Magis Christian Service Program explained, “Two new goals for the service program this year were to keep the health and safety of our students and families as a priority as well as to ensure that people who are most vulnerable, like the folks we try to be of service to, are also safe and healthy.”

People need service now more than ever, and even though it is difficult to help others in person, Prep has updated their grade level service requirements. For example, the Freshman class will become pen pals with people who need a friend right now. Depending on their Collegio, students will be writing to people at either Northwest Child, Chore Clients, or St. Martin’s residents.

Sophomores will participate in the Urban Plunge, which is a virtual  “e-mmersion.” There will be four Urban Plunges, and instead of going out into the community, the sophomores will be “diving” into the Urban Plunge online.

Junior year at Seattle Prep is usually a very big year for service. This school year, the Juniors participated in the Ignatian Family Teach in for Justice (IFTJ). Every day during the week of October 19th– 23rd, they engaged in 60-90 minutes of programming from IFTJ. Mrs. Ford expresses, “I am really excited about the possibilities for the Junior Project – moving from service to advocacy is important–and is an important value for our program that we haven’t been able to incorporate as well before this opportunity came along.”

The IFTJ focuses on faith-based social justice, and the Juniors will be engaging in 60-90 minutes of programming that will answer questions, connect students with other attendees, and provide opportunities to share their views.

Students will be living out different forms of service than usual, and Mrs. Ford says that even though they, “will miss out on some of those in-person connections you can only make when you’re sharing more time and experiences with someone,” there is still a way to look on the bright side. She adds, “Because there is more structure to the program, students will all have a similar experience (within their grade level) so hopefully that builds connections in that way.”

These different and challenging situations call for strong leadership and building connections, which the staff and students can build together through their service experiences.

It is also important to remember that service does not have to be just at school but can be continued to help those in need on our own. Senior Evie Byers does not have an assigned service project this year, but is continuing to help her community and city. She has participated in the “phone voter banks”, a group of people who gather and encourage others to register to vote. Adapting to the current situation, this new challenge has offered different opportunities. Byers says, “While we would generally meet in a room together, social distancing requires us to do it over Zoom instead, which allows people from the whole West Coast to interact!”

While times like these may cause some to want to sit back,  it’s important to remember that there are people who need help, and they don’t have the option of waiting out the pandemic like many people do. Whether in school, out in our communities, or right at home, service should, and will remain an important part of our lives.