Living Our Values - The Catholic Social Tradition
At O’Dowd, we are called to work for social justice. We are called to see the dignity in every person, to stand in solidarity with the historically marginalized, to act in faith for the common good. Service learning at O’Dowd takes place over all four years, integrating the classroom with community-based service and reflection. In building relationships with those most marginalized in our society, students develop their own personal understanding of the Christian call to love, and often find themselves transformed.
Each O’Dowd student completes the following service learning projects, graduating with a minimum of 100 hours of service.
9th Grade: Common Home Project
With a focus on our Charism of kinship with creation, students serve 10 hours at Bay Area organizations committed to integral ecology, environmental justice and sustainability, including our on-campus Living Lab. While learning how environmental degradation disproportionally affects marginalized communities, students practice the Judeo-Christian call to environmental stewardship.
10th Grade: Friends Project
In tandem with Christian Scriptures, students put their leadership skills into practice by building mentoring relationships with children, ages 4-12. Partnering with a local organization, students serve 25 hours practicing personal leadership, initiative, and independent work skills through the joy of mentoring a young person.
11th/12th Grade: Anawim Project
Completed in tandem with O’Dowd’s Peace and Justice course, The Anawim Project challenges students to connect with people who experience the injustice of marginalization. Over a 60-hour service learning commitment, students stretch beyond charity, working with local communities for justice.
Service Immersions Trips
Service Learning Faculty
Michael Downs, Director of Justice and Kinship
Raised in Montana, Michael graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Education. He went on to earn an MA in Christian Spirituality from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley Graduate Theological Union. He is most inspired by O’Dowd’s unique Charism of social justice, kinship with creation, and joy.