On Jan. 4, Loyola seniors began the annual Senior Service Project, which is designed to provide volunteer support to the surrounding communities. This year, however, the school changed delivery of volunteer work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, opting seniors into online volunteer work through Zoom. The Center of Service and Justice needed to redefine the entire plan of action.
Dr. Jesse Rodriguez, Director of the Center of Service and Justice, stated, “The project is now changing because students are coming up with ideas for the future in hope that the students will be able to come back to their communities in May with a plan to help.”
Angela Moran, Center of Service and Justice Project Coordinator, stated, “There was stress in creating something for the Senior class that would still educate the Seniors despite the Zoom conditions. We had to reimagine the program to become something that would create awareness and change to the future.”
One new addition to the changed plan for the Senior Service Project was a course taught by Local Civics, an organization focused on change through active advocacy. The program was added to ensure that the seniors would learn from the two-week experience.
Rodriguez stated, “Local Civics provided this foundation for students on how to listen and how to observe in a community, helping students understand what a community truly needs based on that community’s assets.”
The Senior Service Project required seniors to attend a morning session with Local Civics and an afternoon session of volunteer-work with intermittent reflections to help student volunteers learn the true values of being Men for and with Others.
Senior Justin Dominic stated, “I liked learning more about advocacy and civic engagement so I can work to tackle the fundamental roots of community issues. However, I do wish it was more personal, as I didn’t get to interact with younger students or the homeless like I initially hoped.”
Although the experience was different from previous years, Loyola’s Class of 2021 has found a way to appreciate the project and learn from the experience.
Senior Sameer Nayyar stated, “Even though we couldn’t have our Senior Service Project in person this year, it still gave us an important insight into the importance of caring for our local community. I’m glad I was able to spend the last two weeks with the people from Local Civics because they were definitely some of the best moments of my time in high school.”