Required for students entering Grade 11, Hesed focuses on Sacred Heart Goal III - a social awareness which impels action. Students complete 40 hours of community service and are encouraged to choose a site where they can serve on a continual basis and form a reciprocal relationship with the people with whom they work. Through a reflection process which encourages critical thinking and personal reflection, students mature intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. The Hesed Program builds community, enables students to respond to the Gospel call to work for social justice, and leads students to a deepening of personal faith. Recent Hesed sites include: Camp Arrowhead, Ellis Memorial School, Rosie’s Place, and Catholic Charities' Yawkey Multi-cultural Center.
The Meaning of Hesed
“Hesed” is a Hebrew word found in the Hebrew Scriptures which is usually translated as “loving kindness,” “faithful love,” “steadfast love,” or “enduring love.” Hesed refers to a covenant relationship between God and God’s people. It is God’s relationship with a people of faith. This loving relationship between God and God’s people is directed by an inner loyalty toward one another, one in which love is freely given and is characterized by constancy, steadfastness, and trust. It is exactly this meaning of Hesed that describes the program of service and care for and with others.
Philosophy of the Hesed Program
As a member of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, Newton Country Day commits itself to educate to I: a personal and active faith in God, II: a deep respect for intellectual values, III: a social awareness which impels to action, IV: the building of community as a Christian value; and V: personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom. The Hesed Program is designed to meet each of these goals while being centered around Goal III - a social awareness which impels to action. Students give life to this Sacred Heart Goal by actively engaging in community service. By choosing a site where they can serve on a consistent and continual basis, the students form a reciprocal relationship with the people with whom they work, where each person gives as well as receives from the other. This fosters the building of community and enables the students to respond to the Gospel call to work for social justice – an act which leads to a deepening of personal faith. Through a reflection process which encourages critical thinking and personal reflection, students mature intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. The Hesed Program encourages the students to learn experientially and instills in them the values of courage, confidence, and civic responsibility.
This is what Yahweh ask of you, only this: That you act justly, Love tenderly (hesed). And walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8