Summer Service Learning Program
Rooted in the Catholic social tradition and in collaboration with Notre Dame Clubs and site partners across the country, the Summer Service Learning Program (SSLP) is a three-credit Theology course with eight-week immersive service placements in communities on the margins of society. Students develop a deeper conviction of the kinship of all persons made equally in God’s image, a more disciplined awareness of the causes and effects of social injustice, and a lifelong commitment to vocations marked by solidarity and the pursuit of the common good.
Making a life-long commitment to social justice a distinctive part of a Notre Dame education
Each summer in the Summer Service Learning Program, approximately 230 Notre Dame students live and serve for eight weeks in 120 communities across the country. The SSLP represents a unique model of service learning that would not be possible without the extensive support network of Notre Dame Clubs. We hope you will partner with us and generously support this program that is mutually beneficial for ND students, our ND Club, and people in need in our local community.
Contact KaraMiller@alumni.nd.edu if you’d like to help.
Immersions like the Summer Service Learning Program help students with vocational identity and stress relief
Nominate a Summer Service Learning Program Site
The Notre Dame Club of Atlanta would like your help in nominating a future Summer Service Learning Program (SSLP) Site. Each summer, SSLP matches more than 220 undergraduate students with a wide range of organizations across the country for an eight week service immersion. Students receive three credits in Theology, a $2250 scholarship, and a $750 stipend along with room and board (either in the home of a Notre Dame alumni host family, on site at the service organization, or staying at home). Students are mentored by a supervisor at their service site and are sponsored by the local Notre Dame Club in the city where they are serving. As a three-credit course in Theology, the SSLP course applies the Catholic social tradition to notions of universal human kinship, the causes and effects of social injustice, and the discernment of one's calling to work for the common good.
Who does the ND Club want to partner with?
Start with thinking about exciting local organizations that are known in your area for being highly effective in working with people on the margins of society. Be sure that you know and trust the organization and that you have a dependable contact there. Our hope is that Club members visit the organization at least twice each year in order to stay involved with the organization throughout the year and maintain a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.
What type of work is there for a ND SSLP student to do?
Consider what type of organization might be interesting to current undergrads. Students choose from over 160 SSLP organizations. Many students are eager to gain practical experience this summer in their area of study, particularly in the areas of legal aid work, healthcare, education, or immigration. We already offer students many other placement options to work with youth in summer camps, individuals with disabilities, and those who are homeless.
The 80% Rule
Ensure that students will spend approximately 80% of their time working directly with people in need and building relationships. This means students should spend only a limited amount of time doing administrative tasks such as filing papers or working in isolation (like sorting donations).
Who would be the ND SSLP student be working for?
A good supervisor makes a big difference. Look for an organization that communicates effectively and where there is a staff person readily available to meet at least weekly with the student during the summer.
Organizations that can provide food and housing on site for the student during the summer or organizations that are accessible via public transportation present an especially attractive option since the student then would likely not be required to bring a vehicle. Placements that require the student to have a vehicle significantly limit the pool of eligible candidates. We likely will not be able to add any new sites that require a car.
Ways to support our NDAtlanta SSLP Programs
First, you can offer their homes for housing. Each of the three students our club hosts needs 8 weeks of housing while serving in Atlanta. You can offer your home for one or more students and for a length of time that works for your family’s schedule.
Second, members can earmark their donations to the University (any donations, those counting towards the football lottery and otherwise) for “ND Club of Atlanta SSLP”. These funds allow us to offer the scholarships necessary to host SSLP students each year, serving the dual purpose of aiding our local community and enriching the education of current UND students.
Third, while the SSLP students are serving our community each summer, please consider including them in your family’s plans. A trip to a ball game, a Mass, a dinner out or at home. Any offering of hospitality is most appreciated by the students.
Host Family Testimonial #1
Elizabeth’s presence had a profound impact on my family. For the first time in ages, we made time for family meals each night so that we could share in the joy of hearing about everyone's day. Hearing that Elizabeth spent every day working with young boys and girls from underserved communities in our area definitely resonated with us all and made us appreciate the gifts we have and sometimes take for granted. We also used our time with Elizabeth to stop and smell the roses, taking a break from our typically jam packed schedule to enjoy our surroundings. Every weekend became an adventure to take full advantage of all our area has to offer; skating, hiking in the Blue Hills, boat trips to the Harbor Islands, visits to the beach, and of course discussing Notre Dame (a favorite topic of alums everywhere). She not only became part of our family but also a big part of our community. Her infectious positivity and boundless energy (5 am skating lessons on top of all this!) demonstrated to my children first hand the value of hard work, compassion and optimism. I encourage my fellow Notre Dame alums to host a student if you can. It is an experience like no other and will help reinforce what we all already know; that Notre Dame is a very special family to be a part of.
Host Family Testimonial #2
My name is Joanna Fico Mannion, '96, and I reside outside of Boston with my husband Mike and our three boys, Tyler (13), Charlie (7) and Teddy (5). This summer,we had the privilege of hosting a rising Sophomore from Notre Dame. Arriving from her home outside of Chicago, Elizabeth Allgaier came to Boston as a part of her Summer Service Learning Project, where she volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester for 8 weeks. From the moment we met her, Elizabeth became a part of our family as a daughter and a sister (and quickly took on my five year old as her sidekick). On top of her volunteer experience, she also maintained her training schedule as a member of the figure skating club on campus. It was such a gift to share in her experiences and watch her already joyous spirit flourish further. It brought me back 25 years to my own SSLP experience in Orlando working with teen moms; I fondly remember all of the support and incredible hospitality my host families, especially alum Diane Magill Trammell and her husband Larry, gave to me as young student who had never spent a summer away from home. After my life changing experience, I vowed to house an SSLP student if I ever had an opportunity. Two years ago, we hosted Andrew Tucker ('19) during part of his SSLP in Boston and our experience with him made us certain we would continue this tradition of taking students into our home.
Host Family Testimonial #3
Sponsoring someone from the Notre Dame SSLP program was a positive experience for our family. She quickly integrated into our home. She readily adjusted to the rhythm of our daily routines, and we worked together to allow time each day to share meals, conversations and experiences. It was a pleasure to gain insight into the different traditions and lifestyles of another Catholic family and her SSLP experience. We learned a lot from each other, and it was a blessing to us. Our major takeaways from this experience included:
A chance to share our blessings with others
A wonderful friend and comrade for our daughter who was also in the program
An insight into the lifestyle and traditions of others
Abundant happiness to hear her beautiful voice singing in our home
The excitement of her experiences at her location for service
A special connection to the ND community and the great service that they do