OUtreach

Immaculata'a Campus Ministry program includes dozens of outreach opportunities. In both April of 2010 and March of 2014, our program was honored by the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C., with its prestigious Charity and Social Services Award. This award program was initiated by Pope Benedict XVI's desire to recognize the charitable acts of the youth of our country. In 2014, five recipients from throughout the nation were selected from nominees submitted by forty different dioceses. Incredibly, Immaculata is the only school from the northeast to be selected twice in the program's history!

OUTREACH OPPORTUNITIES

A variety of opportunities are available to our students each day; see the ever-evolving list of our programs. We have fun and draw closer to God while helping the less fortunate! After all, "Faith without works is dead." James 2:17

Immaculata's 2016–2017 Campus Ministry outreach year has arrived with excitement! We are looking forward to continuing last year's new service opportunities assisting local community agencies, (Operation Jersey Cares, helping to box goodies for our troops overseas and the Resource Center of Somerset, working on programs for victims of domestic violence). In addition and adding to our existing ecological stewardship programs, we will be launching an on-site composting program in conjunction with our Science Department (the Spartan Soil Connection) and a campus wide expansion of recycling, offering service opportunities during school hours.

There is something for everyone...stop by Campus Ministry and check “the Wall” for regular updates on service opportunities!

PRESIDENT'S VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARDS

PRESIDENT'S VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARDS: JUNE 2015MAY 2016

In 2016, fifty-two of our dedicated volunteers received this prestigious honor. Click here for the names of the recipients.

OUR SERVING ALUMNI

Many of Immaculata's graduates continue to make a difference, taking their love for others, the knowledge they acquired here and their servant hearts to developing countries around the globe. While no official tracking system exists, making us sure that this list is incomplete, often times we get word of their adventures. 

Liz Miller '12 tells us, "This past May (2014) I had the privilege to serve the wonderful people of Punta Gords, Belize. Our mission entailed tutoring English to school children and building a playground for the preschool to play on. I have been enlightened about the true meaning of solidarity and what our human experience truly is, "to love and be loved as Christ has loved us." 

Chantal Campbell '08 tells us "My service in Haiti was just an amazing experience, something that really helped in my walk with God. We went to help people, but we probably got more our of it than the people we served; they basically helped us!"

Augusto Gebel '10 recounts his service, saying, "The youth ambassador trip to Guatemala has been the greatest experience I have had in my life. One thing I learned coming back from this trip was that I should be glad for what I have. I don't need the new iPod that comes out every other month or a new cell phone that comes out every other week. My experience opened my eyes to what I should be doing. I should be helping those less fortunate. One girl I met in Guatemala was asked what she would change if she had the opportunity, and she replied "The poverty." It was a remarkable answer that runs through my mind every day. It was such a remarkable trip that I would eagerly jump on the next plane to return if I had the chance."

Also from the Class of 2012, Amanda Cavanugh says, "I have gone on a mission trip to El Salvador during my week of spring break for the past two years. We visited the elderly in nursing homes, children in orphanages and the sick in cancer hospitals. We helped in soup kitchens, day cares and threw parties everywhere we could afford to. The things I have seen, people I have met, and the love I have felt, are all personal reasons for the service that I participate in. My desire to serve and my commitment to that desire have been dramatically enhansed by my El Salvador experience and that is something I will forever be grateful for."

Amanda Pesta '12: I went to Kingston, Jamaica with Catholic University's campus ministry program from March 714 of this year. Twenty other Catholic students and I spent our week at elderly homes, homes for abandoned and disfigured children, and at the home of Little Sisters of the Poor helping their residents. It was the most life-changing week of my life. These people in Kingston are destitute, yet their happiness is unparalleled. It really made me take a step back and put my own "stresses" in perspective. This trip also opened my eyes about the possibility of long-term service. In addition to that, the amazing relationships I made with my fellow CUA students will hopefully turn into long-term friendships. I can't wait to go back.

Liz Kretz '09: We leave today (6-3-15) for ten days of free occupational therapy services to Kingston and St. Mary, Jamaica. We are traveling with other students in dental, pharmacy, osteopathic medicine, physical therapy and I think nursing providing services as well. Thank you, Immaculata for your donations. We are very grateful.

To learn of other Immaculata grads who have lived the Gospel's call to serve one another, please click here. Let us know if you or another alum has followed this path. We would love to hear from you!

 

IMMACULATA'S CAMPUS MINISTRY SERVICE HALL OF FAME

During the past decade, we have seen students excel as servant leaders, giving of themselves in many ways, including mission work, as retreat leaders and as day-to-day participants in our many and varied outreach programs. In recognition of their dedication to serving those in need within our community and beyond, the Service Hall of Fame was established, honoring those who have served 1000 volunteer hours in four years or less. We congratulate and appreciate these "serving Spartans"! Please click here to learn more about these outstanding young men and women.

 

IMMACULATA'S CURRENT OUTREACH OPPORTUNITIES

The Community Outreach Programs of Immaculata High School by Inception Date

Immaculata’s Community Outreach has been steadily improving since its official inception at the start of the 20002001 school year. Its first van coming on board just at the start of 2001. What was at first a mostly charity-based ministry with many programs dedicated to nurturing the sick and disabled, has grown into an extensively diverse social justice-based program dedicated primarily to the poor, the environment, the elderly, and the handicapped. Along that rich journey, many programs have been conceived, tried, and “put to pasture." Following ALL outreach is reflection on WHY we are doing what we’ve just done and then the reading of intercessions in our prayer box before the start of the Our Father.

The following programs are what work for our current student body’s needs. If you know of a need in the community that we may be able to address, please send us your suggestions. Your program just may be the next big attraction modeled on living out Christ’s mission today.

Original CORE Programs

Camp Fatima: Love theater/stage? For a week in the summer and two weekends each summer and spring (when adult chaperones are available) volunteer with special-needs adults (kids in the summer) in a rural camp setting on a weekend centered around a fun theme. Camp Fatimaevents are FREE!

Christmas in Appalachia: Love Christmas? Come travel twelve hours by van through the wandering hills and roads of rural West Virginia to live among the poor without the conveniences of home. We throw a Christmas party for eighty underprivileged kids and their families in just four days, less than a week before Christmas break.

Food Shopping for Senior Citizens: Love snacking? Interact one-on-one with very appreciative senior citizens who are our friends and love Immaculata students. Our students have built a relationship with these ladies and that feeling of love and respect pervades the day and atmosphere while browsing the aisles of Shop Rite and later placing it all in their cabinets and refrigerators. Our students know these ladies by their name and habits. Every other week, from 3:005:00 PM. Buy something and eat it in the van!

HAPHA (Higher Achievement Program for Handicapped Adults): Love exploring? Experience unconditional love like no other event! The special needs adults of HAPHA, particularly the core four who have been riding with us for over twenty years, demonstrate the most sincere unconditional love that lends to the air on these trips that “You can be exactly who you are, as God made you—and NO one will judge you. ” HAPHA has traveled to eight different states every Spring/Fall.

Local Soup Kitchen: Love cooking? Help serve hot meals to the marginalized in our neighborhood; sample the leftovers. First Wednesday in October, November and February from 11:30 AM2:30 PM. Students are welcome to cook at home high-protein meals for community service hours.

McCarrick Care Center: Love grandmas? The Festival of Fun runs generally the 2nd Saturday in September and features cotton candy, game booths and food for the elderly and their visiting families. McCarrick Care Center is a nursing home for the elderly in Somerset. Remind yourself of the fragility and sacredness of all human life.

Mobile Soup Kitchen: Enjoy warm meals? Help serve meals and fresh fruit and salad to the marginalized of North Plainfield. Dress for the outdoors. Witness desperation. The line of people in February for just warm pasta is sobering. Evenings from 5:007:00 PM, on the 2nd and 4th Monday.

Old Stirling Group Home: Like arts and crafts? Paint pumpkins, dye Easter eggs and glue together valentines as we visit this group home of mainly cerebral palsy patients and bring them the holiday of the season. Evenings from 6:008:00 PM.

Somerset County Therapeudic Recreation Department:: Like making friends FAST? Take a short ride down Route 206 with us to assist special-needs adults and kids with everything from field sports to yoga and theater!

The Road Less Traveled Retreat: Like weekend getaways? Come serve our special needs friends from HAPHA and others once a year during a weekend in November. Help them read, reflect, write, pray and have FUN in between!

Wayne County Work Camp: (summer AppalachiaLike mountains? Come travel 12 hours by van through the wandering hills and roads of rural West Virginia to live amongst the poor without the conveniences of home. Help build new homes or restore existing ones. Generally it is held the 2nd full week of June. Sometimes, final exams need to be taken prior to their scheduled time since this mission occurs during the last week of school.

2001–2002

Furniture for Camden: Enjoy saving the landfills? Help us salvage unwanted durable goods for later distribution to the poor. A maximum of four students may serve since we take out the back benches to fit the furniture. Items acquired that are not needed by the poor are saved for The Immaculata Garage Sale (see 2003).

SHIP Gift Wrapping Event: Enjoy “buying” gifts? Usually on the Monday during the 3rd week in December from 10:00 AM2:30 PM, we help sort by gender, size and age all the gifts from our Jesse Tree and similar clothing/toy drives from local churches then “shop” using the wish lists of the marginalized to bag their gifts.

Willow Creek Rehabilitation Center: Enjoy games? At Willow Creek we do arts and crafts with the patients and play board games. Sign up for the Scavenger Hunt in the spring or play Halloween games in the fall!

2002–2003

The Immaculata Garage Sale: Enjoy bargains? You never know what’s going to come through that door! This is the biggest community service event at Immaculata and attracts HUNDREDS of volunteers, adults and students. It typically occurs in May and covers FIVE amazing days. The poor get a bargain. The previous owners of items have the peace of mind that their no-longer wanted, but still cherished belongings—aren’t hurting some landfill! Reusing things lessens the burden on the planet incurred by mining resources and using energy/water to manufacture things. Catholic education raises much-needed funds. Go and challenge the carbon footprint of this program—we dare you!

2003–2004

Bingo with the Homeless: Enjoy BINGO? During one school day, from 9:00 AM2:30 PM in October, help distribute free and brand new coats to the homeless single men and women who win each game of BINGO in Camden’s day shelter, New Visions. Brand new coat donations or socks/gloves are MUCH needed! Many of these individuals exhibit the stereotypical image of the chronic homeless population and comprise some of the most broken people we serve at Immaculata. DONATIONS of NEW items help us restore their human dignity—that they ARE worth more than just the clothing no one else wanted!

Bring your pet day: Love puppies? Help bring some smiles, cuddles and love to the lonely institutionalized elderly one evening in October and November from 6:008:00 PM in McCarrick Care Center, Somerset. All tame pets welcomed. Haven’t a pet to share? Bring your iPad with some games; the whole point of the device or pet is to serve as an icebreaker since talking to complete strangers can be intimidating.

Cooking for Christ: Enjoy busy kitchens? On the afternoon prior to the 1st Wednesday in October, November and February, come help us prepare fresh produce (spinach, corn, carrots, salad and potatoes) for the Local Soup Kitchen lunch the next day that serves the local marginalized of Somerville. Parents provide the meat dishes sometime that week prior to Wednesday at 10:00 AM. Cooking for Christ began as a burger-making event on Fridays for the coming Monday’s soup truck back when it stopped in Franklin. The customers and kids always asked for BURGERS—Burgers fit for Christ, stacked with the works!! Today’s adult soup truck customers in North Plainfield prefer more healthy fare (see SaladworX 2014).

Halloween at Green Knoll: Love costumes, capes and masks? It’s time to test out your trick-or-treating outfit on a docile forgiving crowd—in the name of service! Let’s cheer up the institutionalized elderly as we run Halloween-themed games in a dining room of this nursing home. Volunteers must be in costume and have the option to borrow from our FUN bin of props! We also visit Green Knoll nursing home throughout the year to assist them with other events for their residents.

20052006

Fair Trade Sale: Wish to help the world’s most impoverished? Help bring dignity, hope and income to the working poor of developing countries by selling the work of their human hands at the Immaculata Holiday Extravaganza held the Sunday prior Thanksgiving OR by taking home a magazine and selling items to friends, family, neighbors or parishioners.

Habitat for Humanity: Want to learn construction from the pros? Help bring home-ownership within reach of the working poor. Ownership follows education as the 2nd best path towards escaping poverty. Immaculata’s build day in Newark typically occurs one school day during the fall.

20062007

Take-Home Social Justice: What are the root causes of suffering? These folders adorn the right side of The Wall in Campus Ministry. The yellow-green footprint that was painted during The Wall’s total remake in the fall of 2006 to draw attention to the TWO feet of Christian Service, direct service/charity and social change, trying to eliminate the root causes of the problems that charity addresses. Every three years the issues repeat, so if you miss one as a freshmanyou still can educate yourself as a more mature senior.

20082009

Matheny: Love dances? Sign up for either Zombie Prom in the fall or one of their spring time music parties. Matheny is a residency hospital for wheelchair-bound youth, some having severe special needs with few means of communication. Our job is to bring them fun from 6:008:30 PM several weekday school nights throughout the year.

Parish Ministry: Love family events? Christ washed his Apostles feet first, and likewise charity should begin in the home. The Parish Ministry Program grew out of the need for painters of the Nazareth House during weekends. Today it involves serving tea parties as waiters, ushering plays in the Little Theater, massive picnics on the lawn and more! Treasure these rare gems; they’re always filled with impactful memories!

20112012

Homeless Plunge: Love babysitting? Typically, three to four homeless parents, mostly moms, in the Interfaith Hospitality Network can use a break from their children and a hard day of job hunting. Ride the bus with them to their shelter, one of fourteen churches they shuffle between week to week, share dinner with their families and experience life through their eyes. Supervise their children in play from 4:307:30 PM several nights throughout the school year. Come back grateful!

Market Street Mission: Want to meet homeless men working towards restructuring their life? Each winter, we bring with us a collection of bars of soap and bring it to Morristown in gratitude for the Mission opening its doors to us for an educational tour of their program for homeless men and an opportunity for three to four of our volunteers to serve meals out of the fast-paced intense kitchen. It is held one day after school from 3:00–6:00 PM. Come back grateful.

20132014

Duke Farm: Love the great outdoors? One important initiative commencing at the start of the 20132014 academic year was to incorporate ecological stewardship into the service curriculum. In Catholic social teaching, we are called to care for God’s creation. Duke Farms, having recently opening its doors to the public, at the time, and with its proximity to Immaculata, was the obvious first start for this. Volunteer events there, thus far, have included removing invasive non-indigenous species and planting native grasses and plants to curb erosion. Duke Farms has been very impressed by the Immaculata Spartan work ethics of our student volunteers!

Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen: Want to meet genuine single homeless men and women? From 4:308:30 PM one evening in October, November and January four lucky students get to experience this quintessential inner city soup kitchen in New Brunswick. NOTHING gets wasted; food is sometimes scarce and the customers are an impoverished long line of serious-faced men, women and children of all races. Food rationing is the order of the evening almost always. Code Blue goes into effect every winter when temperatures plummet below 20º. The homeless sleep on cots in the cramped dining hall. This program inspired two programs to see the FULL circle of the food chain: Ozanam Family Shelter (see 2015): leftovers go to the men’s shelter on the adjacent property at back, and Farmers Against Hunger (see 2014): this organization provides the greens often sautéed for the evening dinner. Come back grateful and educated!

Grandma’s House: Wish to build a future homeless shelter? Help us transform an abandoned convent into a future shelter for pregnant homeless moms in the Phillipsburg, NJ area. Several times a year from 2:306:30 PM, the Immaculata Spartans have been doing light restoration work there while learning about the history and scope of the coming programs. This is a Life Choices program. Come witness this rare social justice event that will bring permanent improvement to a specific segment of the marginalized.

SaladworX: Want to give the poor healthier options? The content served out of the soup truck is starch-based primarily; the economics are such that a decent hot meal is better than NO meal. Almost no one is ever turned away hungry. However, the very most marginalized LIVE on these meals; they take at least two each visit, TWICE a week. They’re likely also getting canned goods from pantries and such along with the non-perishable bags SHIP distributes. Important phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins and unsaturated fats from milk, eggs, fish, yogurt, fresh fruit, garden greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fresh vegetables are lacking from the diets of the poor. The Kingdom of God is within each of us; we have awesome power within if we choose to use it! Here, we use it. Six students between 3:00–4:00 PM chop, dice and shred carrots, greens, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes for tossing with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to be served, in under two hours later, outside the Mobile Soup Truck of SHIP in North Plainfield every 2nd and 4th Monday. Students often donate oranges, bananas and even fresh farm eggs for boiling to accompany the nutrition blast offered towards our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

Sandy Hook Annual Beach Sweep: Wish to save sealife? According to the Costal Research Center of Stockton College, NJ is the most developed and densely populated shoreline in the country from Sandy Hook to Cape May. The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal to the north is the largest container port in the eastern US. Both play a role in what the high tide brings in every twelve hours to the shores of Sandy Hook, which is run by the National Park Service, an office whose budget has been cut for a few years by Congress. Super Storm Sandy only compounded the peninsula’s pollution challengesbuildings there still await repairs. We will bag litter from 2:004:00 PM; travel time takes up the rest of the journey during one school day in late March from 12:305:30 PM. This program landed us on the front page of a full color newspaper for the 1st time: VOL. 27 - NO.37 Somerset Observer Saturday, April 19, 2014.

20142015

Farmers Against Hunger: Like farms? Help us salvage crops for transport to area soup kitchens and church pantries. An army of Immaculata Spartans picked dozens of 1015 lb. bag loads of collard greens during the programs debut in October. This program landed us on the front page of a full color newspaper for the 2nd time: Somerset/Hunterdon edition of The Star-Ledger Sunday, October 26, 2014 “Charitable Reapers” was the accompanying story.

5K Walk for SHIP: Like walking? Help us raise much needed money for SHIP, the sponsor of our many soup kitchens and soup truck. The student who raises the most money wins a gift card from Campus Ministry. Established in 2013, the annual Peter J. Biondi Memorial Run/Walk meets rain or shine. Visit www.peterbiondimemorialrun.com

Ozanam Family Shelter: Want to give BRAND NEW toys to excited homeless kids? Help us run BINGO games for forty-five homeless children and their families in one crowded cafeteria in Edison. Thanks to an overly generous donation of brand new high end (Melissa and Doug) toys from a current Immaculata family, this program was created to give the human dignity of CHOICE to a marginalized population that otherwise only acquires things when no one else wants them. Volunteers serve from 3:456:45 PM several times throughout the school year.

Project Earth Garden: Enjoy gardening? Help us plant seeds for future crops in rural Califon, NJ from 3:006:00 PM to feed the future poor in area soup kitchens. When you plant a crop you feed family after family from the same seed. It’s an effort of muscle that keeps on giving—in the name of Jesus!

Football Friday Fundraising: Like football? Help us raise money and awareness for Appalachia by joining forces with our fearless Alumni and splitting the funds between the two groups’ Appalachia Christmas missions by selling snacks at home football games on Fridays. Simply bring in a prepackaged ready-for-sale home made treat, priced to sell!

20152016

Operation Jersey Cares: Enjoy surprise packages? Help us box goodies for our troops overseas. We box everything from toiletries, reading materials and DVDs to snacks and cans of comfort food! We work in an unheated warehouse right in the Stop and Shop complex south of the circle on 206. Dress warmly!

Resource Center of Somerset: Enjoy magazines? Help us cut out inspiring pictures and large-font words and letters from various magazines for use in future exercises with victims of domestic violence. Hillsborough, NJ.

Student Chefs: Wish to serve from home? You and one helper may together provide a nutritious dish of mostly meat for the Local Soup Kitchen. This program runs on the first Wednesdays during October, November and February. Simply buy the ingredients, cook at home and bring it in before Wednesday, along with the completed questionnaire and earn up to two community service hours.

Project Linus: Like cozy blankets? Help our experienced ladies at I. C. parish’s Nazareth House on the first Thursday night each month to make blankets for the marginalized living in small trailers at the bottom of the cold mountain sides of Appalachia. Four students maximum, unless you have experience.

2016–2017

Spartan Soil Connection: Like the smell of a forest? Immaculata students for the first time ever now have round-the-clock on-campus community service opportunities to address landfills via improving recycling on campus and prepping food scraps for our new compost garden. Near the end of the year our fresh Earthy-smelling finished compost will be available for sale at ‘Lata functions—all proceeds going to the charities chosen by the volunteer students selling it.

Take-Out Service: Need a fundraiser for your program? Too busy for service? Take-Out service is a cross between volunteering in the community and take-home social justice assignments. Each opportunity involves physical hands-on volunteer tasks on your terms and by your schedule! Some additionally offer a written lesson with questions to answer—earning even more service credit. Check out this new service pillar addition and volunteer! Current themes include fundraising by selling vintage yearbooks or other overstock items from corporate donations or something you create, farming by gleaning the fields/hen houses of family farms and gardens, media ministry: making digital shorts or slideshows to evangelize, and more!

  • ©2014 Immaculata High School
  • |
  • 240 Mountain Avenue
  • |
  • Somerville, NJ 08876
  • |
  • (908) 722-0200
email page print page small type large type
powered by finalsite