Community Involvement Hours

The Ministry of Education mandates that students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community service to receive their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Christian community service provides an opportunity for students to grow in their faith and develop an understanding of our role as followers of Christ.

 

Completing community service hours

St. Mary students will receive a Christian Community Service Booklet from Guidance in the fall of Grade 9 that must be completed in full in order to be accepted for the OSSD. Students must ensure they fill out required paperwork both before and after volunteering, and that signatures are received from their parent/guardian, and their supervisor at the volunteer activity. 

Students can start earning their hours from July 1 (after they finish Grade 8) until the end of Grade 12. These hours are completed outside of class instruction - during the evening, weekends or school/summer holidays. We encourage students to complete 10 hours of service per year, and to complete their hours by the spring of Grade 12.

Once students have completed their Christian Community Service Requirements, they should submit their booklet to their St. Mary Guidance Counsellor. This can be submitted any time after they have completed a minimum of 40 hours. 

Updates for 2021-2022

For the 2021-22 school year, the Ontario Ministry of Education is revising the 40-hour community involvement graduation requirement so that students will not be adversely impacted by the ongoing challenges related to COVID-19.

For students graduating in the 2021-22 school year, the community involvement graduation requirement will be reduced to a minimum of 20 hours of community involvement activities. This recognizes that graduating students have had barriers to earning their community involvement hours last school year and there may be continued barriers this school year. The requirement to complete 40 hours will be restored for the 2022-2023 school year.

Students may wish to consider virtual volunteering, such as connecting with seniors, organizing virtual fundraising events and facilitating discussions with newcomer youth. Outdoor volunteer opportunities could include, for example, picking up litter.

In addition, the ministry is providing increased flexibility in how all secondary students can earn hours in 2021-22, as follows:
1. At the principal’s discretion, schools may waive the restrictions that do not allow students to earn hours during the time allotted for the instructional program on a school day, or duties normally performed in the home (e.g., walking a younger child to and from school, helping younger siblings with school work).
2. Students aged 14 years and older can count up to a maximum of 10 hours from paid employment towards their earned hours at the discretion of the principal. Students counting paid employment towards their graduation requirement will be required to complete a reflection exercise indicating how their work contributed to the service for others.

 

Benefits of community service

Students benefit from completing the hours by:

  • developing moral and ethical responsibility to our community;
  • understanding and accepting social and civic responsibility;
  • accessing opportunities for intellectual development;
  • developing peer leadership and mentoring skills;
  • gaining a better understanding of multicultural and equity issues;
  • building confidence in social situations; and
  • gaining work experience and career awareness.

 

Types of activities acceptable for community service hours

Below are some examples of the types of activities approved for community service.

  • Provide service to seniors or others who have difficulty leaving their homes - raking, shoveling (no snow blowers), shopping;
  • Tutor younger students - read, visit the library, help with homework;
  • Volunteer at a senior's home/centre;
  • Help organize local community events - food drives/banks;
  • Take part in environmental initiatives - cleaning and recycling operations, park clean-up, planting trees and flowerbeds;
  • Become involved with charitable or church activities;
  • Assist with sports teams: community leagues, house league teams, parks and recreation programs;
  • Volunteer in leadership roles with community groups, youth group, leader at church;
  • Volunteer at hospitals, libraries, social service or animal welfare agencies, religious communities/places of worship; and/or
  • Assist with literacy initiatives at local libraries, child care centres, community centres.

 

Activities considered ineligible for community involvement hours

According to the Ministry of Education, an activity is ineligible for community involvement hours if it is:

  • Required as part of a school course;
  • Takes place during the time allotted for the instructional program on a school day. However, an activity that takes place during the student's lunch breaks or "spare" periods is permissible;
  • An activity that replaces a paid worker;
  • An activity where you would usually be paid (e.g. babysitting);
  • A duty performed in a home (e.g. daily chores) or personal recreational activities;
  • Requiring the knowledge of a provincially regulated tradesperson;
  • Playing in a sports team;
  • A Court ordered program involving a community service expectation;
  • Involving operating a vehicle, power tools or scaffolding;
  • Administering medication or handling substances as classified by the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
  • Involving banking, securities or other valuables;
  • If under 16, a logging environment;
  • If under 15, a factory environment;
  • If under 14, any workplace besides health and residential care, unless accompanied by an adult.

If you would like to volunteer in an activity, but are unsure if it corresponds with eligible activities, please speak to your school's principal.

 

Resources

Check out the following resources to help you find Community Involvement opportunities.

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