The Community Involvement requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) present the Catholic student with a valuable opportunity to exercise his/her baptismal call to love and serve others. In the gospels, Jesus calls us to celebrate our gifts and to use them for the building up of the kingdom of God. Community service gives the Catholic student a rich opportunity to be of service to others in unique and valuable ways.
There are distinct expectations for graduates of Catholic schools in the province of Ontario. They are known as the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations. These expectations were devised by the Institute for Catholic Education (I.C.E.). From the many important expectations identified by I.C.E. the following three particularly fit this initiative:
The Catholic Graduate is expected to be:
- A collaborative contributor who finds meaning, dignity and vocation in work which respects the rights of all and contributes to the common good.
- A caring family member who attends to family, school, parish, and the wider community.
- A responsible citizen who gives witness to Catholic social teaching by promoting peace, justice and the sacredness of human life.
The Community Involvement requirement provides an opportunity for students to successfully meet these graduate expectations. Alongside learning the teachings and traditions of the Catholic faith it is vital that students have opportunities to witness their faith by reaching out to help others through Christian service.
Every student in secondary school must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities as one of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Early completion of the 40 hours is strongly recommended.
- to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility
- to increase awareness of the role they can play and gain satisfaction from the contribution they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities
- to develop a positive image and a greater sense of identity within the community
NOTE: Students may complete the requirement at any time starting in the summer before they start Grade 9 and finishing before May of their graduation year.
Students may complete one activity of 40 hours, or several activities which add up to 40 hours. The requirement must be completed outside of scheduled class time. Students under the age of 18 years should plan and select their activities in consultation with their parents.
- during the lunch hour
- in the evening
- during the summer
- on the weekends
- during school holidays
- during school suspensions/expulsions
Students will identify and document their community involvement using one of two methods.
Method 1: Hour Republic
Using this on-line program students will identify and confirm electronically the activities they participated in, their supervisor and
verification of completed activities by both the parent/guardian and supervisor. Download detailed instructions here.
Method 2: Community Involvement Activity Record
Students can complete the print version (download it here) and submit with signatures to your school Guidance Department.
St. Benedict Guidance Bulletin Board – opportunities are posted as they become available
The Board’s liability insurance will protect the students and community sponsors for liability law suits for damages or injuries to a third party that may arise from the student’s volunteer activities during the required 40 hour period.
- Board liability insurance does not cover the community sponsor for lawsuits that arise from their negligence or for student injuries in the work place. Sponsors are responsible for ensuring that their own liability insurance is in place.
- Students are not covered by the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board in the event of personal injury.
- Students and parents are encouraged to purchase Student Accident Insurance, available in the schools each September.
- Boards expect community sponsors will provide students with safety instructions, safety equipment (if necessary), training and supervision of students.
These activities are non-paid and out of class time, and not part of a course requirement. This list contains examples of acceptable activities. Other activities not on this list may be eligible. If you are unsure if your idea will qualify please check with guidance BEFORE you complete your community service activity.
- Fundraising for Non-Profit Organizations: canvassing, walk-a-thons, celebrity games, gift wrapping, gala events, flower sales
- Sports/Recreation: coaching, Special Olympics, leisure buddy, summer games, pool assistant
- Community Events: winter carnival, summer fair
- Environmental Projects: community clean-up, flower/tree planting, recycling program
- Seniors’ Residence: serving snacks, helping with crafts, visiting, reading
- Committees: advisory board, neighbourhood associations, regional associations, student trustee
- Community Projects: food banks, support services for seniors or the house bound, 4H Club, seasonal events
- Religious Activities: babysitting or assisting with children’s programs during liturgy; assisting with Eucharistic ministries, lector, choir or alter serving; visiting elderly or sick parishioners, missionary work
- Clubs and Youth Organizations: volunteering activities organized by these groups. Membership alone is not eligible.
- Children/Youth: drop-in centers, breakfast programs, after school programs, March Break programs, leaders in training, summer playgrounds and camps, child care centers
- Office/Clerical for a non-profit organization: reception, computer work, mailings, newsletters, pamphlet delivery
- Animals: animal care, horseback riding program
- Arts/Culture: galleries, playing music, library, museums and heritage sites
- Activities for Individuals Requiring Assistance: home maintenance for needy seniors (refer to Ineligible Activities List), shopping for shut ins, recreational activities designed for those with special needs, babysitting
- School Activities: Organizing and assisting with school activities, Grade 9 welcome, school arts show, sport events, drama festival, fundraiser, food drive, science fair, guide for Parents’ Night
STUDENT ACTIVITIES ARE NOT TO DISPLACE PAID WORKERS
The ministry has developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as Community Involvement activities. These are referred to as ineligible activities. An ineligible activity is an activity that:
- Is a requirement of a class or course in which the student is enrolled (e.g., Cooperative Education, Job Shadowing, Work
Experience, or any portion of a course).
- Takes place during the time allotted for the instructional program on a school day. However, an activity that takes place during a student’s lunch break or “spare” period is permissible.
- Takes place in a logging or mining environment, if the student is under sixteen years of age.
- Takes place in a factory, if the student is under fifteen years of age.
- Takes place in a workplace other than a factory, if the student is under fourteen years of age and is not accompanied by an adult.
- Would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace.
- Involves the operation of a vehicle, power tools, or scaffolding.
- Involves the administration of any type or form of medication or medical procedure to other persons.
- Involves handling of substances classed as “designated substances” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
- Requires the knowledge of a tradesperson whose trade is regulated by the provincial government.
- Involves banking or the handling of securities, or the handling of jewellery, works of art, antiques, or other valuables.
- Consists of duties normally performed in the home (i.e., daily chores) or personal recreational activities.
- Involves the activities for a court-ordered program (e.g., community service program for young offenders, probationary program).
- Involves simple membership in a school or community club.
- Is part of a Community Service Day during regular scheduled school curriculum.