About the Summer of Service Program
The Catholic University of America’s Campus Ministry Department runs many programs that allow students to foster relationships with marginalized and vulnerable communities. The Community Service Program mobilizes students to serve in the DC area, and the Service & Justice Immersion Program facilitates one and two week-long domestic and international immersion experiences. In recognition of the opportunities for transformation that arise from being in relationship with our marginalized or vulnerable sisters and brothers, the Summer of Service Program supports Catholic University students who dedicate the whole summer break to solidarity through service and justice.
The Summer of Service Program is a chance for freshman, sophomore, and junior undergraduate students to partner with volunteer organizations, engaging in approximately two months of direct service, while living in the communities where they work. The purpose of this program is to allow students who are inspired to work for the common good to use their summer to accompany and learn from the communities they in which they live and work.
What Will I Do?
You'll serve at a non-profit organization for approximately 2 months (8-10 weeks) during the summer. There are many programs that accept summer volunteers, and below are some organizations you might want to check out. Our Campus Ministry staff can also help you to find others as well if you are interested. You will need to apply and be accepted by one of these volunteer organizations and the Campus Ministry Summer of Service Program. However, to apply to the Summer of Service Program you only need to have begun the application process with the host organization. It is not necessary to have been fully accepted with the service organization to be offered a placement in the CUA Summer of Service Program.
What is offered with these programs?
Room and Board – Many organizations provide housing at the site. You will likely be living with a group of volunteers, who all work for the same organization. Depending on the organization, you will either have your own room or share with a roommate. Normally, all meals are provided by the organization as well. Make sure and talk with each organization to fully understand what they offer.
Funding – Students will receive a stipend of $2500, half of which is awarded at the beginning of the summer, and the other half upon completion of the program. This funding is to cover flights (students will purchase their own flights) to their service locations, any incidentals such as personal hygiene, etc., as well as help students be able to support themselves during the following school year since they won’t be able to have a paid job over the summer. Please note, if the service program provides a stipend separately, will receive a maximum of $2500. For example, if your program gives you a $1500 stipend, you will receive a $1000 stipend from Campus Ministry.
How long will I be there?
Service should be for about 8-10 weeks during the summer months. This is flexible depending on the program you will be serving with. Some programs start sooner than others and end in July, while others start later and end in early August. If you have questions or concerns about this, please ask.
Click below to start your application for the Summer of Service Program! Students must have experience in service to others, either formally or informally, be in good academic and community standing, and be available for eight to ten consecutive weeks during the Summer of 2021. Students must also apply directly to the service program with which they hope to volunteer.
The Summer of Service Program applications are open through February 28th, 2021. If you are selected for an interview, they will take place on March 2nd and 3rd, with placement offers being emailed out the following week. Upon being offered a placement, you will have five days to accept or decline.
Feel free to reach out to Harrison Hanvey, firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.
This list is not comprehensive of service programs accepting summer volunteers, however it includes many programs that CUA alumni have served with in the past and that are currently in touch with CUA Campus Ministry. If you have another program you are interested in serving with, please contact Harrison Hanvey at email@example.com to discuss that option. Please note: You can, and are encouraged to, apply to multiple programs.
Andre House provides up close and personal encounters with the chronically and transitionally homeless and poor. They provide transitional housing, dinner six nights a week with an average of 600 meals/night, showers, bathrooms, phone use, and clothing to those in need. The student volunteers assist with all the functions of the organization, working in solidarity with the guests, staff, and other volunteers to provide a safe, supportive community of service.
Annunciation House provides shelter to economically poor immigrants and refugees at several houses of hospitality in El Paso. Annunciation House volunteers live and work at the houses of hospitality, and are responsible for the operation of the houses, attending to the needs of the guests, coordinating meals, picking up food donations, assigning chores, helping guests make travel arrangements, doing laundry, and all other things necessary to maintaining a guests.
Bethlehem Farm helps with housing and other projects in rural West Virginia. Volunteers live in intentional simplicity, where they pray together and work together daily. Summer volunteers help the full time staff with daily chores and activities, and they also lead high school and other short-term volunteer groups that visit for 1-2 weeks. To apply to Bethlehem Farm, please fill out the Summer Servant application here. The application priority deadline is January 31, but applications are accepted on a rolling basis after that date as well.
Center for FaithJustice engages volunteers with communities through service and social justice activities. Summer volunteers as part of LeaderworX help lead middle school and high school groups through service retreat weeks, and also participate in leadership formation workshops as a group. Volunteers stay for 9 weeks between June 9 to August 16. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and can be found here.
Christian Appalachian Project provides support to the residents of rural Eastern Kentucky through housing projects, elderly services, and summer camps for children. CAP volunteers live in one of two houses in the area with other long term volunteers. Summer volunteers can either help with one of two summer camps, or they may be placed with groups helping with construction and housing projects or working with the elderly. All applications can be found here.
Jerusalem Farm provides home repair for the Kansas City community, as well as hosts retreat and volunteer groups from around the country. Summer volunteers help with daily tasks around the farm and help organize and lead service retreat groups. More information on how to apply can be found here.
L'Arche is a community of adults with and without developmental disabilities. There are four houses between Washington, DC and Arlington, VA. Summer volunteers act as assistant interns and assist the core members with their daily living as well as plan fun activities. Applications are due very soon, and can be found here.
With over 185 different programs in the Catholic Volunteer Network community – you have a wide variety of service opportunities to choose from. Their online database can help you sort through programs based on the criteria that is most important to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I go alone?
As students are in charge of finding a program and being accepted to that program for the summer, there is no guarantee that you will be going to a site along with another CUA student. However, you will be working and living with other volunteers at your service organization. Each site is different, but there will probably be between 4 and 10 volunteers there in total. You’ll be living in a community, so you’ll get a great chance to meet some other amazing volunteers and staff!
2. Where will I live?
At least for the service programs listed above, all housing is at or near the service site. Students will live in community with other long-term volunteers and/or other summer volunteers. Many of these volunteers are currently in college, or recently graduated. This may be different for other service programs so please check with the program you are applying to.
3. Do I have to pay for housing or meals?
All housing and meals should be provided to you by the service organization, but you may be required to do some cooking! Again, this may be different for other service programs.
You will be prepared as much as possible by the Campus Ministry staff before you depart for your summer of service, and you will receive an orientation upon arrival to your site. The sites listed above have hosted CUA alumni and students in the past, and the Campus Ministry staff have spoken with them already. However, other service programs that you find through Catholic Volunteer Network or other means should also be safe. The sites have strong relationships with the communities they work in, and are able to advise students regarding appropriate safety precautions. If students have concerns, they can speak with their site supervisors, and if need be, may contact the CUA Campus Ministry Office. There will be a CUA Campus Minister on-call all summer in case of emergency.
5. What about COVID-19?
Probably not. Participating in the summer of service program means you are committing to being fully present during the time you are there, in order to gain the most possible from the experience. You’re encouraged to schedule family vacations or other events before or after your 10 weeks of service, if time allows. There may be some exceptions, so if you have a question, please speak with the volunteer organziations you are applying to.
7. I'm not Catholic and not really religious, can I still apply?
Absolutely! Students from all faith backgrounds, as well as students who aren’t religious are encouraged to apply. This program is about building relationships with those who are affected by inequalities here in the US and abroad. All of our partner organizations are faith based, and you may be required to attend religious services and participate in spiritual activities, but you are not required to be Catholic or religious to participate.
8. Will I be able to see my family over the summer?
There will be several weeks before and after your weeks of service that you can be home with you family. Depending on the site you’re working at, the organization may allow your family to come visit you as well! Of course, some sites have changing work schedules, so you may be working some nights or weekends. Each site is different. Feel free to chat with your service site to see if they welcome visits by your family or friends.
9. What about the stipend?
Students will receive a stipend of $2500. From these funds, you will have to purchase your own plane tickets (so do that early!), as well as any incidentals (personal hygiene, clothing, etc.). While at your site, you won’t be paying for housing or meals, so a bulk of the stipend you’ll be able to save to support yourself during the upcoming school year. We know you won’t be working at a paid job over the summer, so we want to make sure you can still support yourself, pay for books, etc. A portion of this stipend will be given to students in the Spring, and another portion will be given upon completion of the program.
*Students who receive a stipend from their volunteer program will not receive the complete $2500 stipend from the Office of Campus Ministry. For example, if the program you volutneer with gives you a $1000 stipend for working there during the summer, the Office of Campus Ministry will award you a $1500 stipend. Since finances are main factor that limits the number of participants in this program, any money saved will help to allow more students to participate in the future.
If you have any questions about the stipends, please speak with Harrison Hanvey, firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. I'm studying abroad this semester, can I still apply?
Certainly! If you are selected for an interview, it may be done over Zoom, Skype, or Facetime.
11. What is the application process?
You will need to apply to both the Campus Ministry Summer of Service Program as well as the actual service program you hope to volunteer with, and both application processes will include an application and interview. To be eligible for the $2,500 stipend, you will need to be accepted to both the Campus Ministry Summer of Service Program and the volunteer program. Students can still be applying to service programs while going through the application and interview process for the Campus Ministry Summer of Service Program. You do not have to be accepted by a service program yet to continue this process. However, if you are eventually not accepted by the service program(s) you are applying to, you will not be eligible for the Summer of Service Program and will not be eligible for the stipend.
We'd love to hear from you! Contact Harrison Hanvey in the Office of Campus Ministry at email@example.com or 202-319-5575.