Christopher Columbus High School

A Catholic School for Young Men in the Marist Tradition since 1958
Faith & Service

Christian Service

Why We Serve

While community service is required in many public schools and by the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program, the students at Christopher Columbus engage in service for very particular reasons that are fundamental to our identity as a Catholic and Marist school:

The Gospel Mandate
”I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me (Matthew 25: 35-36).”

Our Distinct Character as a Marist School
“We present the Good News…in the form of Jesus’ vision of the human community: reaching out to the “least” of our society, seeking the common good of all, and taking responsibility for the future of humanity and of God’s creation (In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat: A Vision for Marist Education Today, no. 82.).” 

 “We are created by God with unique gifts and talents which we are called to develop and share with the Church and the wider community (The Marks of a Marist Student).”

RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH STUDENT

It is the responsibility of each Christopher Columbus High School student to understand and conform to these requirements if he expects to receive service-hours credit.

Failure to Fulfill the Christian Service Requirement: Following graduation, no diplomas, records or transcripts will be released for any student who has not fulfilled the Christian Service Graduation Requirement described here.  These documents will be held until the student fulfills this requirement.

List of 8 items.

  • GRADUATION REQUIREMENT

    Prior to graduation, Christopher Columbus High School students are required to complete a minimum of 100 hours of qualified volunteer service. We strongly encourage students to fulfill this requirement incrementally over their four-year CCHS career by performing at least 25 hours of service each school year.
  • REQUIREMENTS FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS

    The 100-hour Christian Service Requirement is prorated for students who enter CCHS after freshman year, as follows:

    Sophomores: 75 hours
    Juniors: 50 hours
    Seniors: 25 hours

    If a transfer student wishes to receive credit for service hours performed while attending his previous high school:
    • He must provide acceptable, verifiable documentation of qualified service (see GETTING CREDIT FOR QUALIFIED SERVICE HOURS).
    • This documentation must be submitted by the student, in person, in paper form, to the Christian Service Office within 30 days of the student's matriculation at CCHS.
    • Approved service hours performed during the school year in which the student transfers to CCHS will be credited against the prorated requirement.
    • Approved service hours performed during high school years previous to the school year in which the student transfers to CCHS will be credited against the full 100-hour graduation requirement (in this instance the student waives the transfer student proration).
  • WHAT QUALIFIES AS CHRISTIAN SERVICE HOURS?

    Service is unpaid work performed to benefit another person or persons.  To be eligible for credit, service must - at a minimum - meet all three of the following criteria:

    1.  Service hours must be unpaid. 
    2.  Service hours must be performed on behalf of non-profit organizations.
    3.  Service hours must be performed on behalf of organizations whose practices do not conflict with the values and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church.    

    Religious Entities:  
    The faith communities of any recognized religious tradition (for example, Catholic parishes, Protestant churches, Jewish synagogues, Muslim mosques, Buddhist temples) are non-profit and qualify as locations for acceptable service hours. 

    Public Entities:
    Institutions and programs conducted by federal, state, or local governments (for example, national parks, public schools, Florida charter schools, public libraries, public parks and recreation programs, municipal/county fire- and police-departments) are non-profit and qualify as locations for acceptable service hours.

    CCHS Student Organizations:
    Service with CCHS programs, sports teams, and student organizations that benefits people outside the school community - for example, a team project to help disabled children - is eligible for credit if it meets all  other CCHS guidelines.  Students may perform qualifying Christian service hours through a number of CCHS school-sponsored student organizations, including:
    • Baseball Team (Mr. Weber)
    • Cangrejos Against Cancer (Bro. John)
    • Campus Ministry (Mr. G. Gonzalez)
    • CCNN (Ms. Hidalgo; Mr. Delgado)
    • Chess Club (Ms. Meadows)
    • Debate Team (Mr. Martinez)
    • Library Aides (Bro. Edmund)
    • Mas Scholars (Ms. Galvez-Cuesta)
    • Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society (Mr. Moro)
    • National Honor Society (Ms. Confresi)
    • National English Honor Society (Mr. Crossman)
    • Open House (Mr. Marinelli)
    • Peer Tutors (Ms. Vinson)
    • Squires Club (Bro. Eladio)
    • Technology Department Volunteers (Mr. Bello)
    One Hour of Unpaid Work = Credit for 1 Service Hour

    Beware of organizations that make promises such as:
    • "Attend our two-day conference and earn 48 community service hours."
    • "We will give double hours for helping at this event."
    • "Make a donation to our event and we will give you 5 hours of community service."
    Christopher Columbus will not honor these promises.  Students will be awarded one hour of credit for each hour of unpaid work that meets all other school requirements as outlined here.
  • WHAT DOES NOT QUALIFY AS CHRISTIAN SERVICE HOURS?

    Credit Will Not Be Given For: 
    1. Paid work of any kind.
    2. Internships (paid or unpaid).
    3. Attending conferences or programs for the student's own learning or enrichment (e.g. leadership programs).
    4. Service on a political campaign, for a political party, in the office of an elected official, or for any organization (including many 501c4 organizations) whose purpose is to promote a political agenda. “Service is never ideological, for we do not serve ideas, we serve people (Pope Francis)."
    5. Service at any for-profit business - including family businesses - even if that service was unpaid.  (See below: SINGLE EXCEPTION TO THE NON-PROFIT GUIDELINE: CERTAIN HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS).
    6. Service to any person(s) independent of a non-profit organization (e.g. mowing the lawn for a neighbor, helping a sick relative).
    7. Unserved hours (e.g. "doubled" hours):  one hour of credit is given for one hour served.
    8. Donations (such as money, goods, blood) to any organization.
    9. Service for which the student receives academic credit (e.g. service as guidance department assistants).
    10. Service to a CCHS team, program, or student organization if the student is eligible for a varsity or sub-varsity letter as a member of that team/program/organization (e.g. student managers of team sports).  
    11. Service to any organization whose practices are contrary to the values of the Catholic Church, including:  
    • UNICEF
    • Planned Parenthood
    • Amnesty International
    • Crop Walk/World Church Service 
    • March of Dimes
    • Susan G. Komen for the Cure 
    For more information about the exclusion of these organizations on the basis of a conflict with Catholic values and teachings, click here.         

    Examples of For-Profit Organizations

    The following are recent examples of organizations where CCHS students considered volunteering.  After inquiring, it was determined that each is a for-profit entity and therefore service on behalf of these and any other for-profit organizations is not eligible for credit:  
    • American Heritage School
    • Assurant Satellite Learning Center
    • Big Five Club - Big Five Sports Camp
    • Camp Rejoice (located at - but not conducted by - St. John Neumann Parish)
    • Camp Discover (located at - but not conducted by - Doral Park)
    • Conchita Espinosa Academy
    • Children's Paradise Learning Center
    • Diamond Degree (Baseball Academy)
    • Highpoint Academy
    • Learning Tree of Arts
    • Miami Marathon (Life Time Fitness, Inc.)
    • Miami Shores Montessori School
    • Riviera Day Camp 
    • Thunder Athletics
    • Zoological Wildlife Foundation
    When in Doubt:
    Before performing hours of service at any organization, students can consult Br. Tom Long (tlong@columbushs.com), CCHS Christian Service Coordinator, to confirm that Columbus will give credit for service at that organization.
  • SINGLE EXCEPTION TO THE NON-PROFIT GUIDELINE: CERTAIN HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS

    Service with certain for-profit healthcare organizations is acceptable only if the CCHS student is engaged in direct, face to face service to patients.
    This exception applies only to:
    • Hospitals
    • Rehabilitation Hospitals
    • Nursing Homes
    • Assisted Living Facilities
    • Hospice Organizations
    Examples of acceptable service at a for-profit healthcare provider: 
    Visiting with patients, praying with patients, entertaining patients, transporting patients in wheelchairs, providing recreation to patients, reading to patients, helping patients with eating, walking, hygiene, and dressing.

    Examples of unacceptable service at a for-profit healthcare provider:
     
    Clerical tasks, filing, data-entry, answering phones, receptionist, admitting patients, computer operations, janitorial tasks.
    Service at private and group medical, dental and physical therapy practices will not be accepted.
  • GETTING CREDIT FOR QUALIFIED SERVICE HOURS

    To receive credit, qualified service hours must be properly documented and submitted as follows:

    Documentation
    There are two (2) acceptable forms of service hours documentation:

    1. The preferred form of documentation is the CCHS Verification Form:  
    • Download, print, and complete this form as directed.
    • Note:  A major portion of the form must be completed by an official at the service organization who can legitimately verify the student's service.
    2. CCHS will also accept documentation in the form of a letter from the service organization, but only if:
    • The letter is an original (not a copy) on the organization's official letterhead.
    • The letter is hand-signed by an official at the organization: the name, position within the organization, and contact information of the signatory must be stated in the letter.
    • The letter declares the non-profit (501c3) status of the organization.
    • The letter describes the service activities performed by the student.
    • The letter includes a service log which lists separately each date, and for each date the start time and stop time of the student's service.  For example:

                        Date                         Start Time            Stop Time         No. of Hours
                        9/3/2016                   8:00 AM                4:00 PM                    8
                        9/21/2016                 3:00 PM                4:30 PM                    1.5

    Whichever acceptable form of documentation is used, the student must:
    • Be sure his CCHS ID number is written clearly and prominently at the top of each document.
    • Make copies of every service document he submits for credit - and retain these copies in his personal possession until after graduation.  This is for the student's protection.
    To ensure the accuracy and integrity of the information, documents will not be accepted that contain cross-outs, mark-overs, white-outs, or other evidence of editing.

    Submitting Documents
    • Documentation should be submitted: 
      • In paper form
      • By the student -  in person
      • To the Christian Service Office (Brother Tom Long).  The Christian Service office is located in the Bro. Leo Wall Center (B Building - 1st Floor - 87th Ave side).
    • If Bro. Tom is not in his office, service documents may be left in the drop-box to the left of his office door.
    • Under no circumstances should documents be left anywhere else or with anyone else.  
    • Documents may not be submitted electronically (e.g. by email attachment).
    • No third party (including parents) should attempt to submit documents on behalf of the student.
    • The student should make and keep (until after he graduates) a copy of every document he submits.
    Please Note:  Students should inform service organizations never to send documentation of service hours directly to CCHS with the expectation that the student will receive credit upon receipt.  The student must obtain documentation from the service agency and, in turn, the student must himself bring documentation - personally and directly - to the Christian Service office. This procedure is for the protection of the student.

    Call to Service (2015-2016):  
    This is a required course for students in Grade 11.  Students enrolled in this course must complete 25 hours of service during the first semester of the 2015-2016 school year.  Service hours must conform to the Christian Service guidelines described on this webpage.  To receive service-hours credit for the Call to Service class:
    • Service hours must be performed after June 5, 2015.
    • Service hours must be documented and submitted according to monthly deadlines - and no later than Friday, December 4, 2015. 
    • Service hours performed during the summer must be documented and submitted by Wednesday, September 30, 2015.  Do not attempt to submit documents before school reopens on August 24, 2015.
    • Service hours must be submitted directly and in person to the Christian Service Office (Brother Tom).
    • All approved hours performed for the Call to Service class will also be credited towards the Christian Service graduation requirement.  
    Deadlines for Submitting Documents:
    If Service Is Performed Any            Documentation for that Service 
    Time During the Month Of:              Is Due On:

    September                                         October 31
    October                                              November 30
    November                                          January 3
    December                                          January 31
    January                                              February 28
    February                                            March 31
    March                                                 April 30
    April                                                    May 31
    May-June-July-August                       September 30

    Late Penalty:  Documents submitted past deadlines may be subject to forfeiture of 1/2 credit.
    • If a student is performing ongoing service at the same organization (for example, hours of service performed every week), on a monthly basis the hours served during that month should be documented and submitted by the deadline for that month.
    • Do not attempt to submit documentation during the summer. Documentation of service hours performed during the summer should be submitted after school resumes and before September 30.
    Verification of Documented Service Hours  
    Without notice to the student CCHS may seek to verify the information contained in service hours documents. If for any reason (including inaccurate contact information contained in the document) the school is not able to verify this information, the student will not receive credit for the relevant hours. Falsifying information in service hours documents may result in disciplinary action by the school.
  • CHECKING NON-PROFIT STATUS

    To be eligible for credit, service must be performed on behalf of a non-profit organization (with the exception of certain health-care organizations as described below).  

    Note: Non-profit status can only be conferred by state and/or federal government.  

    CCHS will recognize the non-profit status of any organization that has been granted either:
    • Florida Non-Profit Corporation status by the Florida Department of Corporations.
    • 501c3 status by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
    Online Tool For Checking Florida Non-Profit Corporation Status
    Students can check to see if an organization is recognized as a Florida Non-Profit Corporation by using the handy online search tool provided by the Florida Department of Corporations.

    If an organization is a Florida Non-Profit, that label will appear at the top of the search result.

    Checking 501c3 Status
    Students can check 501c3 status of an organization by calling the IRS toll-free at: 1-877-829-5500 

    Need Help?
    Any student who needs help determining the Non-Profit status of an organization should ask Brother Tom - in person or by email.
     
    Read More
  • REQUESTING SUMMARY OF SERVICE HOURS RECORD

    At any time, students and parents may request a summary of the student's service hours record (number of hours served and documented; balance of hours required). 

    Requests should be made by email to Br. Tom: tlong@columbushs.com
    • Students: Should email this request from their CCHS email account only.  
    • Parents: Should please be sure to include their son's full name and CCHS ID in the request.

CONTACT:

List of 1 members.

  • Br. Tom Long 

    Christian Service Coordinator/Campus Ministry/Virtus Coordinator
    ext. 2251

DEADLINE FOR GRADUATION

Final Deadline for the Class of 2017: Friday, April 28, 2017.

NOTE CAREFULLY PLEASE: To receive credit, documentation of service hours must be submitted according to the monthly deadlines enumerated in the previous section. Graduating seniors who submit any documentation after the Final Deadline may not receive credit in time for graduation.

For their own convenience and peace of mind, students are strongly encouraged to fulfill their Christian Service requirement well in advance of this Final Deadline.

Check Your CCHS Email

Students are expected to regularly check their CCHS email for information from the Christian Service Office, including:
  • Service hours opportunities.
  • Deadline reminders.
  • Announcements of changes to policy or procedure.
  • Inquiries or decisions regarding documentation submitted by the student.
A student's failure to check email is not a legitimate excuse for not knowing critical information.

Other Service Opportunities

Christopher Columbus High School | 3000 SW 87 Avenue | Miami, FL 33165 | (305) 223-5650
Christopher Columbus High School is a private, Roman Catholic, college-preparatory high school, conducted by the Marist Brothers of the Schools. We aim to make Jesus Christ known and loved, as we prepare young men for higher education and for their continuous challenge of harmonizing faith, culture and life. We foster a family spirit among all who are committed to the success of the school and promote opportunities to work together as a community of learners. 

Columbus is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the National Catholic Educational Association.