SERVICE LIFE / ECHO
What is ECHO? ECHO is an acronym for Encountering Christ by Helping Others, which is Fisher Catholic’s new student service program. ECHO is designed to help students live out the Gospels, take pride in works of charity and service, play an integral role in bettering and creating meaningful ties to our communities, and increase our faith. ECHO challenges our students to observe the world around them in search of those in need, work with others in their communities to plan and execute discreet service events (called ECHO Encounters) that students can contribute to, and to reflect on what they learned from the event about those in need, about themselves, and our Catholic faith.
What is an ECHO Encounter? An ECHO Encounter is an FCHS-approved service event (or series of events) designed and intended to provide FCHS students with opportunities to serve Christ by charitable acts of helping those in need.
How does an ECHO Encounter get started? Ideas for ECHO Encounters come from many places – students, parents, teachers, parishioners, and others within the FCHS community. To take these ideas and make them into Encounters, they can be submitted to or discussed with the school principal (Dr. Lozada), Father Ty Tomson, or Mr. Matt Shaw (parent volunteer) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-571-0973 (call or text). Father Ty has approval authority to make the idea an “official” ECHO Encounter. Once approved, Mr. Shaw typically adds them to a working list of ideas and works with students, parent volunteers, and community partners to get them through the Encounter Pipeline steps.
How does an ECHO Encounter get approved? Scopes for individual Encounters are developed by students, parents, and others in the Fisher community. New ideas ultimately need to be approved by Fr. Ty Thompson.
What is the scope of an ECHO Encounter? Each Encounter is a well-defined “event” or series of events that helps people in need in some material or spiritual way. Ideally, each Encounter is an event that lasts on the order of 4-6 hours in length and require 10-30 students to complete. That said, the scope for each Encounter will vary widely in terms of time commitment required. For example, approved Encounter “A” could require 30 students for 6 hours on a Saturday to pack boxes for a local food pantry, approved Encounter “B” could require 4 students to help buy and deliver presents for children of incarcerated parents, and approved Encounter “C” could require students to mentor and tutor young children once per week for several weeks. On occasion, single-person Encounters can be approved (e.g., PSR teaching assistant, lead for weekly worship service).
What are the ECHO requirements for FCHS students? Each FCHS student is required to contribute to – and write a brief Reflection Paper about his/her experience with – at least one ECHO Encounter per quarter, and a minimum of six per school year. Students will submit their Reflection Paper for a grade in their Theology class. Failure to submit at least one Reflection Paper per quarter will result in an “Incomplete” in the class for that quarter. It is each student’s individual responsibility to ensure that they meet the quarterly and yearly requirements of ECHO (i.e., they need to seek out, contribute to, and write Reflection Papers for at least one Encounter per quarter and six for the school year).
How do students find out about and express interest in individual ECHO Encounters? Communication about ECHO Encounters occurs during monthly assemblies and guild meetings, announcements in their Theology classes, morning and afternoon announcements, general “word of mouth”, and via a “sign up” binder in the front office with lists of some (not all) upcoming Encounters. All students are highly encouraged to generate ideas for and lead their own Encounters so that they are, by default, in the know!
How do students get selected to participate in individual Encounters? Many of our Encounters can use as many student volunteers as want to participate (e.g., an outdoor pro-life walk), whereas others have a limit on how many volunteers can participate (e.g., visit to nursing home with limited space). In cases where more students would like to contribute than there are places for, student and adult leaders will work to help those who need quarterly credit the most. Students can always volunteer to be the respective student leader of an Encounter they conceive and plan.
How can adults and existing organizations become involved in ECHO? We are looking for more adult volunteers to help conceive of, plan, lead, and execute ECHO Encounters. We are also looking for more existing organizations (e.g., St. Vincent de Paul, Habitat for Humanity, Bottoms Up) that we can partner with to serve people in our community. Please contact Principal Lozada, Father Ty, or Mr. Shaw (email@example.com or 614-571-0973 ) with your Encounter ideas and availability to volunteer. Thanks so much for your prayers and support!