The SSLP Experience

Dispatches from the Virtual Summer Service Corps

In spring 2020, the coronavirus forced the university to cancel all international and domestic travel for summer 2020. In response, SSLP created the Virtual Summer Service Corps for 109 students who completed virtual service with 50 site partners around the country. Check out the videos below to hear their stories. 

Aysha Gibson | Midcoast Community Alliance | Bath, Me.


Connor Martin | CrossOver Healthcare Ministry | Richmond, Va.


Sean Seidl | Catholic Charities Dallas | Dallas, Tex.


Victoria Toledo | Boys and Girls Club of St. Joseph County | South Bend, Ind.


Samuel Gebresilassie | North Side Development Center | Minneapolis, MN


Alyssa DiPaolo | Pittsburgh, PA


What The SSLP Experience Offers

See what some of your peers thought of their SSLP experiences in 2019 and 2020. 


"I created this artwork based on a photo I took at the site. Shown here is a fraction of the some 13,000 paper files used to track the care of each patient who sets foot in the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic. As a Spanish interpreter this summer, I listened to the stories of hundreds of uninsured Hispanic patients who painted images of political, familial, and health-related distress back in their home countries. In particular, I will never forget the Venezuelan woman who described to me her intense fears as an undocumented immigrant in need of medical care. She recounted her need of life-saving diabetes medication, but how she had no “papers” or means to obtain it. Meanwhile I stood there holding her four-inch-thick paper medical chart, and the irony struck me. This summer with VIM challenged me to think about the word “Undocumented” and the other labels we use to define people with different backgrounds from ourselves because VIM patients truly ARE documented, lovingly, meticulously, and with defiantly compassionate care." (Abbey Epplen, Volunteers in Medicine Health Clinic, ND Club of Hilton Head)


"James Martin defines “vocation” as a specific inner desire that each and every one of us carry in order to become the people that God wants us to be and to live fulfilling and satisfying lives. Martin writes, “Each of us has a unique vocation to become the person we are meant to be,” (Martin 121). This summer, I have learned a lot about how relational I actually am, and I think that it is a skill that I can use in any setting, regardless of what I do in the future. In the short term, I hope that my SSLP experience will equip me to improve on my communication with others in school, allowing me to empathize more with others and not just judge them based on their behaviors and words, and allowing me to reach out more to those who may seem distant. In the long-term, I hope that my SSLP experience will help me to continue practicing building connections and maintaining communication with those that I may get the chance to work with in the future." (Theresa Azemar, Hopeprint, ND Club of Syracuse/WNY)


"One relationship that I think really evangelized me this summer was with a woman who I will name Wonder (her name was like this and I think it describes her well). She rang the doorbell every single day for dinner.  She was not one of the ladies in the shelter because I believe she lived down the street, but she could not afford any food. Every single day, we would make her a plate from the dinner table and would give her extra sweets because she had a sweet tooth. It was probably in week 3 or 4 when I became the main responder to Wonder when she came. I loved getting her food because she was funny and sweet. Shamim, our live-in volunteer, said probably around week 7 that "Wonder is going to miss you. You treat her so well." Yet, I don't even know if Wonder knows my name or misses me, but I do know that I miss her. I don't know if I changed her, but I do know that she changed me. She made me so responsive to those in need. I can recall one time when I was giving her tea in a cup and I clearly heard the Bible verse, "when you were thirsty, you gave me a drink." She brought that Scripture passage alive for me. We didn't read the Bible together. We didn't go to Mass together. I don't think she was Catholic. She didn't know my name. And yet, she was the one who brought the Scripture alive for me. She evangelized me each day." (Mary Mueller, Missionaries of Charity, ND Club of Memphis)

Personal and Spiritual Growth

Connery McFadden, Cristo Rey Newark, ND Club of Newark

Living in Solidarity

I wanted to share something I wrote during in my SSLP journal. I feel that it captures both the struggles and beauty in living in solidarity at Annunciation House - “Life at Annunciation House is like listening to a terrible band play. There is some sense of organization and reason you have come to listen to them play, but overall in the moment it’s hard to hear any true music. I have found that there is always a degree of discomfort that exists. You are living in a homeless shelter eating rejected, donated food and side by side with people also rejected by their nation and now even our own. The water rarely works, the beds squeak, babies cry, and the doorbell rings like an endless concussion through your head. When my little sister asks if I’ve seen any cool animals I say flies because we seem to breed them like an exhibit at the zoo. But there is also a degree of undeniable safety and warmth that exists. The guests are able to find solitude after months of travel and as a volunteer you are able to see the epitome of the human spirit, whether through families being reunited or a sigh of relief after a much needed bus ticket is purchased. So like a terrible band, people will inevitably walk out or “boo” with no applause or recognition. But for me I stay because it’s people, volunteers or guests, all trying their best to make the world stop and listen." (Max Chuma, Annunciation House, ND Club of El Paso)

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Upcoming Events

April 2021

Application Deadline | McNeill Leadership Fellows Program
Friday, April 30, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm

May 2021

CST Research Seminar
Friday, May 7, 2021 - 9:00am to Saturday, May 8, 2021 - 9:45am
Labor Café | The Paid Leave Priority
Friday, May 7, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm

June 2021

July 2021

Just Wage Forum 2021 | Series Conclusion (Virtual)
Friday, July 23, 2021 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

September 2021