In the classroom, Salesianum students are given the gifts of Salesian Optimism and Gentle Strength. Through the CFJ, those gifts are honed to serve our Gospel call to help the marginalized and the suffering through our service learning requirement, which emphasizes direct contact with those in need or marginalized due to poverty, discrimination, old age, poor health, or physical and mental disabilities. Students complete a minimum of 25 verified hours of service each school year.
All freshman complete their Christian Service requirement at Warner Elementary School or another pre-approved, school-sponsored urban elementary or middle school in Wilmington. The goal is for each student to engage in a common experience as part of a Salesianum-supervised group, including debriefing sessions to maximize educational impact. Each student will be required to make a minimum of five visits. There are required orientations during the first month of school and a debriefing during the last month of school.
The sophomore service program aims to stretch students’ comfort zones in interacting with others. Therefore, it will require students to engage in direct personal service with the residents of the Mary Campbell Center, an assisted living home for people with severe mental and physical disabilities. Students will be required to make a minimum of four visits, and attend one social justice panel at Salesianum. Speakers on various social justice issues will present at school at least once per month.
Direct service to communities in need must occur at an interpersonal level. Christian service cannot remain an abstraction or allow people to remain disconnected from real persons and communities in need. It therefore requires face-to-face personal encounter and interaction. This is rooted in Jesus’ call in the Gospel, where to meet and serve another person in love is to encounter that person in a real way and also to encounter God. This encounter builds a sense of solidarity and community. As Salesianum is a school rooted in the local community of Wilmington, it is important that connections be made between students and the people who are our neighbors in Wilmington.