NDP’s service and justice programs coexist for two reasons: to address the immediate needs of marginalized populations and to change those systems which inherently prove unjust to individuals, societies, and the world.

Ultimately, direct service, or charity, is an immediate response to suffering and can address individual needs, such as poverty, medical or educational needs, and homelessness. Justice, or social change, is rooted in advocacy work that seeks to change systemic, structural, or institutional constructs, such as politics and corporate practices. 

Both service and justice work are rooted in the Gospel, and both are integral to NDP’s philosophy and the charism of the school’s founding order, the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Interwoven into the school’s academic and spiritual environment, service and justice activities, as the mission states, "empower girls to become women who transform the world."

Service Work

Notre Dame Preparatory School's vibrant Service Program is rooted in the mission of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the school's founding order. All NDP community members--from students to faculty and staff to alumnae to families--have the opportunity to be involved directly with marginalized communities in Baltimore and beyond. Service learning has been a visible tradition at NDP since the 1930s when the Sodality and Mission Club organized service activities. The current community service requirement for seniors has been in place since 1975, making it the longest-running service requirement curriculum in the region.
 
Community service infuses the lives of NDP students, beginning in Middle Level and running through Upper Level. A solid foundation of service learning is built on in-house and off-campus projects and reflection experiences that are developmentally appropriate. During their years at NDP, students develop a life-long attitude toward service.

List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • + Key Student Clubs

    CCAP (Christian Community Awareness Program)

    CCAP is a school organization, like the Student Council and the Athletic Association, dedicated to serving the community. The group sponsors the Red Cross Blood Drive; the Penny Queen fundraiser; the Head Start Christmas Party; the CCAP dance in the fall for grade 9 & 10 students; and Pasta for the Philippines. There is one representative from each homeroom, as well as At-Large grade representatives. Meetings are held about once a month.

    Rafiki

    Rafiki is an after-school program which brings young women with developmental disabilities from the community and our NDP students together for a social club. The group meets weekly to enjoy, crafts, games, sports and various activities that foster relationships. Rafiki is a Swahili word meaning “friend” and that is just what is developed with this club.

    Club Umoja

    The mission of Club Umoja is to foster ongoing relationships with children from Camp Umoja through programs with Baltimore public housing developments. We strive to instill a love of learning and promote personal growth in the children. In addition, Club Umoja exists to educate the NDP community as it increases our awareness of urban issues affecting Baltimore’s youth. In the process of achieving these goals, we hope to make the experience enjoyable for all involved.

    Started in 2004, Club Umoja organizes outreach programs for Camp Umoja children both here and in the community. We host an annual “Urban Forum” to discuss issues that affect Baltimore City’s children.

    Habitat for Humanity Club

    Our Habitat for Humanity Club works Habitat's Susquehanna Chapter with to raise awareness about affordable housing in our local area.
  • + Summer Service Camps

    Camp Umoja

    Camp Umoja is a summer day camp for children from Baltimore City Public Housing. Since its beginning in 1985, children between the ages of 6 and 11 have attended. Located at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, Maryland, the camp offers daily Red Cross certified swimming lessons, arts and crafts, and a tutoring program. Volunteer counselors from Notre Dame Prep and local boy's schools provide the campers with close supervision in a caring atmosphere. Our key to success is the one-on-one attention that our counselors give to the children. Umoja, which means “unity” in Swahili, has special meaning for the camp. At Camp Umoja, high school students and young children from two very different worlds come together. In that setting, the counselors come to recognize the value of direct service, and that inner-city kids have hopes and dreams just like they do. The young campers gain many important skills through tutoring, arts and crafts, and swimming. They also grow from the recognition that their counselors care deeply about them. Seeking to continue their relationships with their campers throughout the year, NDP students formed Club Umoja.

    Sisters Academy Summer Camp

    Started in 2005, the Sisters Academy Summer Camp, is a day camp offering sports and fitness opportunities for the students of Sisters Academy of Baltimore, a Catholic, community-centered middle school, that educates girls from families of limited economic means, in southwest Baltimore. Notre Dame Prep students volunteer as counselors at the camp, offering support, encouragement, and friendship with these middle-schoolers and maintain their relationship with the students throughout the following school year.
  • + Service Trips

    MISSISSIPPI

    Since the early 1990’s NDP has sent a group of seniors on a week long-trip to serve lower-income families in the Deep South around Easter. We work in Starkville, Mississippi with their local Habitat for Humanity chapter, assisting families in their dreams of owning a good home. We sleep at the local Boy Scout camp and dinners and lunches are provided by local churches that host us in the evenings. We also participate in local activities such as going out to the Mississippi State baseball game. NDP is the only high school to participate in this program, known as the Collegiate Challenge.

    VIRGINIA

    Started in 2004, the Virginia Habitat for Humanity Trip with Calvert Hall provides students from NDP and CHC the opportunity to get to know one another while providing a meaningful service to a family on the rural eastern shore of Virginia. Students often work together to make their meal though some are generously donated by local church groups. In the evenings there will be time for recreation and reflection on the day’s experiences, and we take a recreational day at Virginia Beach mid-week.

    ECUADOR

    Beginning in 2018, NDP established a partnership with Rostro de Cristo in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Throughout this retreat-style immersion trip, emphasis is placed on being with members of the local community rather than doing for them, building relationships and developing a greater understanding of the reality of Ecuadorians, through visits and dialogue. Throughout this experience, NDP students are able to touch, taste, smell, see, and feel how the developing world lives, and be forever changed.

    ARIZONA

    Begun in 2018, the Arizona Delegation of Notre Dame Preparatory School travels during Holy Week to visit the School Sisters of Notre Dame who live in Douglas, Arizona and run the Mission Awareness Project (MAP). The Delegation accompanies the SSND during this weeklong “ministry of presence.” In other words, the week is an examination of the immigration issue through a variety of site visits around Douglas, interviews with non-profit employees, and facilitated conversations in a retreat-like atmosphere. This unique experience is designed to bring immigration to life, reinforce solidarity with our neighbors, and challenge participants to be a part of a solution. The Delegation flies through Tucson in order to reach Douglas, spend time near Nogales, and cross the border a number of times throughout the week.
  • + Service Activities

    • Stone Soup Day is an NDP tradition where the entire community comes together to prepare, serve, and a simple, common meal of bread and soup. A speaker from an outside organization educates about the needs of people living in material poverty and other social justice issues with proceeds from soup sales going to support their charity.
    • Refugee Youth Project provides weekly tutoring and mentoring for refugee children in Baltimore City. NDP students travel to the Refugee Youth Project once a week via blazer bus or via their own transportation. NDP hosts the mandatory orientation for the program twice throughout the academic year. Students are expected to volunteer on a weekly basis.
    • Begun in 1978, Dinner with our Elders is NDP’s oldest service tradition in which the school hosts more than 200 low-income seniors for a Sunday-afternoon turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Students serve the tables and students, faculty, staff, and parents help prepare the meal. The NDP Jazz ensemble entertains in addition to our guests who often perform songs and recite poetry.
    • Penny Queen is a weeklong competition between the high school grades to see who can raise the most money, which funds Camp Umoja, the Josanna Abromaitis Service Endowment, and scholarships for children attending school in NDP’s sister community in El Salvador. A Penny Queen is elected from each grade to perform crazy stunts and hold unique fundraisers. This tradition is more than 30 years old.
    • Every advent season, each advisory supports an area Christmas Family experiencing material poverty by providing Christmas gifts and grocery gift cards. In collecting gifts, creating decorations, and learning about the family, the students connect with others, develop a heightened awareness of poverty, and share a bit of Christmas spirit!
    • The Head Start Christmas Party at NDP finds children from area Head Start enjoying crafts, pizza, gym games, Christmas carols, and a special audience with Santa. The NDP students love to help out at this event, and the children thoroughly enjoy themselves.
    • Working with the Red Cross, one blood drive is held at NDP during the school year. Students (16 and older), teachers, parents, and others sign up to give blood on those days.
    • Each Spring, NDP hosts Coffee House, a night of local music to raise funds for college scholarships for students from our sister community. This fund was started by recent alumnae who wanted to have their Salvadoran peers enjoy the same opportunities they have.
    • During Sophomore Service Retreat, small advisory groups of 10th graders volunteer at local elementary schools and then reflect on their experience living out the Gospel Values on which NDP is founded. This activity officially initiates our high school students in the spirit of service that is pervasive throughout NDP.
    • An extension of the Camp Umoja program in the summer, Club Umoja provides NDP students with continual interaction with the children of Baltimore City Public Housing. Through monthly parties and afterschool tutoring, all students participate in the act of building lifelong relationships and embracing unity.

Justice Work

The Social Service curriculum at Notre Dame Preparatory School moves students from acts of charity to works of justice. Topics that we regularly address with students include:
  • How Charity is different from Justice.
  • How to recognize the Kingdom of God right here!
  • Why Catholic Social Teaching (CST) is the ‘best-kept secret in the Catholic Church.’
  • How Gospel Values and the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching shine a new light on current political, economic and social issues.
  • How CST offers strategic and systemic solutions for social sin.
  • How to become an advocate for the poor and marginalized of society.
  • Educational resources for the classroom.
  • Practical resources for purchasing and investment.
  • The SSND local, national and global mission.
  • Issue-specific meditations and prayers.
  • Action Alerts and many ways that you can get involved in Building The Kingdom of God!

Notre Dame Preparatory School

An Independent, Catholic Girls School
Grades 6-12
Sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame
© Notre Dame Preparatory School 2016