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
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: JUNE 2015–MAY 2016
In 2016, fifty-two of our dedicated volunteers received this prestigious honor. Click here for the names of the recipients.
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
Liz Kretz '09: We leave today (6-3-15) for ten days of free occupational therapy services to
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!
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.
The Community Outreach Programs of
Immaculata’s Community Outreach has been steadily improving since its official inception at the start of the 2000–2001 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.
Christmas in Appalachia: Love Christmas? Come travel twelve hours by van through the wandering hills and roads of rural
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 3:00–5:00 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 AM–2:30 PM. Students are welcome to cook at home high-protein meals for community service hours.
Mobile Soup Kitchen: Enjoy warm meals? Help serve meals and fresh fruit and salad to the marginalized of
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!
SHIP Gift Wrapping Event: Enjoy “buying” gifts? Usually on the Monday during the 3rd week in December from 10:00 AM–2:30 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!
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!
Bingo with the Homeless: Enjoy BINGO? During one school day, from 9:00 AM–2:30 PM in October, help distribute free and brand new coats to the homeless single men and women who win each game of BINGO in
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 6:00–8:00 PM in
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
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.
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
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 freshman—you still can educate yourself as a more mature senior.
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 6:00–8:30 PM several weekday school nights throughout the year.
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 4:30–7:30 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.
Duke Farm: Love the great outdoors? One important initiative commencing at the start of the 2013–2014 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 4:30–8:30 PM one evening in October, November and January four lucky students get to experience this quintessential inner city soup kitchen in
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
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
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
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 10–15 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
Project Earth Garden: Enjoy gardening? Help us plant seeds for future crops in rural
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!
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!