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Service-Learning & Leadership Program


With Mother Catherine McAuley as their model, Mercy students are transformed into empowered, active citizens, leaders and lifelong servants of Christ through our nationally recognized, four-year service learning and leadership program. Students are called to be leaders who act for justice in our community through direct action, by addressing immediate needs in our community, and social action, by addressing root causes of injustice to bring about long-term systemic change. Mercy’s four year program has been awarded the Certificate of Excellent Practice in K-12 Service-Learning and was the featured program for the state of Kentucky in the national publication Growing to Greatness.


Freshman Year

Students are introduced to our program through various activities which take place both inside and outside the classroom. These activities establish a foundation to prepare students for four days of immersion experiences designed to uncover causes and potential solutions to issues that plague our society.

Sophomore Year

Students are now prepared to enter the community and directly serve the needs of those most at-risk. Students partner with local agencies over eight weeks to learn the stories of those most vulnerable in our community in order to better understand how their needs can be directly addressed. Students learn that forming relationships is the foundation of true justice work.

Junior Year

Students learn about the complex nature of systems, social analysis and the difficulties of systemic change. They tour local agencies focused on an area of injustice to examine how they approach the root causes of the issue. Then, students meet with legislators in Frankfort to discuss how to bring about the long-term change necessary for our community to thrive.

Senior Year

Students are equipped with all of the tools needed to create a lasting impact in the community by developing and implementing action plans specifically focused on the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy such as poverty, immigration, anti-racism, nonviolence, environmental justice and women’s issues. Through a collaborative approach, students practice real-world leadership skills in strategic planning, needs assessment, marketing and financial planning to create a year-long service project. 

If you have any questions, please contact our Director of Service Learning and Leadership, Kari Sims.