St. André Bessette Christian Service Program

As an independent Catholic school in the Holy Cross tradition, Gilmour Academy is committed to creating a coeducational learning environment supported by faith formation. Students from the Montessori preschool through graduating seniors are active participants in serving the community through a wide variety of optional extracurricular activities as well as the St. Andre Bessette Christian Service Program, which requires 60 hours of service before graduation.

Additionally, juniors spend one semester researching a social justice issue that affects the Greater Cleveland community. Now in its 10th year, the Praxis program requires students to identify a problem that interests them, develop potential means to address it and actively work to solve it in a way that preserves the dignity of all.

Gilmour’s service requirements emphasize the principles of both solidarity and subsidiarity, which creates more lasting impact by directly alleviating a problem as well as empowering those in need to lift themselves up.

Gilmour students work to serve others according to the Catholic Corporal Works of Mercy, which mandate:
  • Feed the hungry.
  • Give drink to the thirsty.
  • Bury the dead.
  • Visit the imprisoned.
  • Clothe the naked.
  • Give shelter to the homeless.
  • Visit the sick.


List of 3 items.

  • Lower School Program

    • Ministry to the Elderly, Hungry, Sick, Poor, Marginalized and Suffering (Montessori-grade 6): Each year, boys and girls at Gilmour work on service learning projects as part of the Humanities curriculum. These activities provide a means for young people to learn and develop through active participation in organized service experiences and are designed to encourage social responsibility, to increase social awareness, to build self-esteem and to encourage friendships and relationships.
    • Brother André Service Council (Grade 6): Students who wish to become more involved in service opportunities that Gilmour provides also have the opportunity to join the Brother André Service Council, which allows its members to take a more active leadership role in all aspects of a service project, from identifying the needs of our community to organizing projects.
  • Middle School Program

    • Ministry to Children (Grade 7): Each month, students tutor at St. Henry School or are involved in activities with students with developmental disabilities at the Metzenbaum Center.
    • Ministry to the Elderly (Grade 8): Each month, students visit the elderly at various nursing homes.
  • Upper School Program

    • Ministry to the Hungry (Grade 9): Freshmen are required to help at the Cleveland Foodbank plus one agency that the food bank serves. Transportation and supervision are provided by Gilmour Academy.
    • Ministry to the Poor, Marginalized and Suffering (Grades 10-12): Each student is required to perform Christian service at an approved service agency. It is recommended that students complete 20 hours each year.
    • Program Completion (Grade 12): Seniors must have accumulated 60 hours of required service throughout their Upper School experience. These experiences are then articulated through a required reflection paper.
    • Tobit Ministry (Grades 9-12): Students in Grades 9-12 serve as pallbearers for individuals who do not have family or friends who can participate in this role at the end of their lives. Embracing our mission, these young people give honor, dignity and respect to the lives of those they help to bury. At the same time, this experience shapes and transforms our students.

Program Goals

  • To transform students into a zealous community of men and women who live the Holy Cross charisms
  • To increase students' awareness of the suffering and marginalization of some members of the greater community and to encourage them to make service a personalized priority
  • To offer students the opportunity to extend beyond their comfort zone by serving others, especially those of obvious need.
  • To expand the students’ conscious awareness that they are called to utilize their gifts and talents in service to humanity.
  • To enable students to realize that faith must inform their actions and be woven throughout their lives.

~ Blessed Father Basil Moreau

If I come out of myself to do a little good, at that very moment I experience that I can do nothing alone.

Excerpt from Culminating Service Essay Class of 2019

To truly feed the hungry and quench the thirst of the thirsty is to hear their stories and allow them to feed you life as you feed them, and sincerely immerse yourself while sharing the gift of food and fellowship.

Excerpt from Food Bank Reflection Class of 2022

I thought it would be a hard event... boring and non-energetic, but I was so wrong. It was an amazing experience…I discovered a little bit of myself and a great fond[ness] for working and helping in a food bank. My attitude has in time changed [from] being ungrateful to being happy to even have a roof over my head and clothes on my back. This experience has opened my mind to all the problems of the world and how lucky I am to have the things that I have.
An independent, Catholic, coed, day and boarding school in the Holy Cross tradition. Toddler-Grade 12.