Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

VPS Program Offers Opportunity for Summer of Service

VPS Program Offers Opportunity for Summer of Service

By Beth Hanson Hoya Staff Writer

For the past two summers, the Georgetown Volunteer and Public Service Board has sponsored a program that combines the Jesuit commitment to community service, summer employment for Georgetown students and an opportunity for local high school students to gain skills from working in challenging environment.

The Summer of Service Program, now entering its third year, was conceived in 1998 by members of VPS as a way to continue servicing the greater D.C. community during the summer.

“Summer of Service combines job skills, service learning and community service,” said Program Assistant Katie Bender (COL ’00).

The program, though staffed by Georgetown students, includes large numbers of participants from area high schools. Annually, between 60 and 100 high school students are chosen to participate in this paid program. About half of the participants do so through the D.C. Schools Project, a university-led initiative funded in part by grants from the district.

Twelve Georgetown students are chosen through an application process to participate as leaders in the program. Two of those serve as operation managers, while the others head the service track opportunities available to the high school students. Those tracks, including historical preservation, environment, education and journalism, each have a VPS staff mentor.

During the month of June, the Georgetown students will receive pertinent training, ranging from teaching English as a second language to driving a van. The program itself begins in July, at which point the high school students will decide which track they would like to pursue.

Throughout the rest of the program, the high school participants follow a rigorous schedule. Mondays host a series of workshops planned by the coordinators on topics such as health, diversity, and college preparation. Tuesdays through Thursdays, the high school students work on their assigned projects with their student coordinator counterparts.

“The rest of the week is devoted to service learning, and direct community service,” said Bender.

“It’s an unbelievable program,” said Bender. “It gives D.C. youth an opportunity for better job skills; for many of them, it’s their first job. They get to work with such a diverse group of people and become open to diverse situations. Plus, they are having fun doing community service and getting paid for it.”

“Summer of Service was a great learning experience for me,” said Joan DeSantis (COL ’01), a former coordinator of the community health track. “I felt challenged and enlightened every day. It was a great way to get a sense of the community service needs and opportunities in the D.C. area, and to engage myself and others in an active effort to give back to the community”.

“Lots of Georgetown students do interesting things over the summer, like internships and traveling, but Summer of Service is such a unique opportunity” said Bender. “It embodies the Jesuit ideal of service for others.”

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