Volunteer Opportunities at Chestnut Hill College
Through the Office of Campus Ministry, Chestnut Hill College offers many opportunities to volunteer. I've described these opportunities below but feel free to check in with Sister Joannie at firstname.lastname@example.org for other ideas.
Saint Joseph Villa
Mondays 2:50- 4 pm
Saint Joseph Villa is a retirement home and care facility sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Many of the residents at Saint Joseph Villa are actually retired Sisters, however there are many other residents who are not. Through volunteering at Saint Joseph Villa, students will help with the operation of residents' daily lives, such as putting water pitchers in each room or helping transport residents to the dining hall or other locations. Some volunteers even assist with physical therapy. Many residents do not have family close by, so the volunteers will keep them company. Residents will tell stories about their lives or play games with the volunteers.
“They strive to make God’s love real for our residents, for one another, and for all who visit the Villa. By embracing the values of teamwork, respect, hospitality, compassion, communication, and responsibility, the Villa community offers care that is person-centered and relationship-based to the residents.”
Saint Francis Inn Soup Kitchen
Tuesdays 3-7 pm
Saint Francis Inn is part of a ministry which is located in Philadelphia. Their main goal is to assist the poor and homeless in the area. The soup kitchen serves pre-set meals but the guests are able to pick whichever dessert they want. This style of soup kitchen allows the guests to eat a meal with dignity.
When the volunteers arrive at Saint Francis Inn around 4 pm, they do preparation until 4:30 when the kitchen starts serving. Volunteers can get a variety of jobs such as being a waitress or waiter who serves the food, or volunteers will help in plating the food, washing dishes, or being the host in the entrance. There are many other colleges and groups who regularly volunteer at Saint Francis Inn along with Chestnut Hill College.
Saint Francis Inn helps feed over 300 individuals a night. All the food they give out is donated by individuals as well as large corporations (such as Giant and Tasty Cake). One stigma against soup kitchens is that everyone who goes to them is homeless, however, that is not the case. Although many individuals who go to Saint Francis Inn are homeless, there are still a large number of individuals or even families who have homes but need to go to a soup kitchen to get by. Saint Francis Inn soup kitchen helps all of their guests get by each month by offering healthy, warm meals with dignity.
Saint Joan of Arc After-School Program
Wednesdays 3-6 pm
Saint Joan of Arc is an after-school program for children from kindergarten to about 3rd grade. The volunteers serve snacks when the kids arrive, then they are assigned to one or two students. The volunteers help the students with their homework than are allowed to play games or do other activities when they are finished. The main goal in the Saint Joan of the Arc after-school program is to give these children structure and stability, as well as give them constant role models. Many of the students at this after-school program do not have family who went to college, so through this program, they can meet with someone who is in college who can be a role model for them. Many volunteers have great relationships with the students and will volunteer on a weekly basis.
La Salle Academy
Thursdays 2:30-5:30 pm
La Salle Academy is a small school that has about 90 students ranging from 3rd to 8th grade. Each student’s family lives under the poverty line of $12,000 a year. Volunteers will do a variety of tasks at La Salle, such as cleaning the schoolyard, helping with teaching students one-on-one, having the students read to them, and even just being an avid listener for the student. Volunteers from Chestnut Hill College become role models for these students. While volunteering through La Salle Academy, you truly get to know the students and faculty since it is such a small school and you are able to build great relationships with many of them.
Periodic Volunteer Opportunities
Our Mother of Sorrows
The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill College host a Halloween party for children at Our Mother of Sorrows school for children from kindergarten to 8th grade. Volunteers help with different booths, face painting, and trick or treating so that the children from this school can have a safe way to spend Halloween
Fun Fact: The Principal of Our Mother of Sorrows and some teachers are Sisters of Saint Joseph!
St John’s Hopkins
Usually 1 to 2 times per year
Chestnut Hill College’s Ministry will volunteer on occasion at St. John’s Hopkins which is a café style soup kitchen. At one point, the volunteers at Chestnut Hill College made 500 sandwiches when John Hopkins’ kitchen was being renovated!
May for 4 days (After the Spring Semester is completed)
Volunteers stay at the parish at Saint Joan of Arc for four days and do a variety of things for the community. The volunteers mostly work with the homeless and poor but they also visit cultural sites in the area. One of the largest aspects of the Urban Plunge is helping out with the Green Grows Farm which was an industrial site about four years ago which was remodeled into an urban farm. Volunteers will help harvest produce, pull weeds, and do other types of farming. The volunteers will also work in Green Grows industrial kitchen where they will help make jam and dehydrate apples. The Green Grows farm donates produce to around 250-300 families who are below the poverty line. They also are advocates for food education, where they teach many people in the community on how food is grown.
In the evenings, students will reflect on what happened that day. This retreat helps challenge our own assumptions while helping individuals in a poverty-driven area.