Ten years ago, Shannon Murphy, CCANO Director of Volunteers, alongside a team at the Archdiocese recognized a need in the community for high school students to participate in impactful service experiences over their summer vacation. Thus, SERVE (Students Engaging in Reflective Volunteer Experiences) was born to enrich teenagers’ personal growth, professional skills, and community engagement.
Since its inception in 2009, the program has grown leaps and bounds, working with 870 students and leveraging 32,201 volunteer hours in the community over the past ten years. Last year alone, 42 high school students from 17 high schools served 1005 hours valued at $24,248 for Greenwalt Adult Day Center, Ozanam Inn, and Second Harvest Food Bank. At Greenwalt, students played games, served lunch, and talked to seniors. Students prepared meals, organized donations, and helped with the facility’s laundry and bed making at Ozanam Inn, a homeless shelter in the CBD. During their week at Second Harvest, students packed nearly 30,000 pounds of non-perishable food into boxes for distribution.
CCANO offers multiple sites so that students can pick a program depending upon their interests and schedule. Students will also participate in a Reflection Day hosted by CCANO’s Office of Justice and Peace where they will engage in activities and learn about topics that challenge them to think critically about Catholic Social Teaching and social justice issues.
Here’s to the next ten years of SERVE and beyond!
In their own words:
“My favorite part about SERVE was working with so many amazing people and meeting people I would have probably not met otherwise.”
“My favorite part was seeing the smiles on people’s faces.”
“I liked meeting new people and knowing that what I did was for a good cause.”
“My favorite part was the very friendly staff that supervised me!”
“I always tell my friend who need service hours to sign up for SERVE.”