Over the course of the semester, we as student consultants with Beautiful Social become deeply involved with our client organizations: learning about their mission, studying their websites, telling our friends and family about the great work that they do, and so on. We become passionate about topics that we weren’t as conscious of before we began our client partnerships; our group’s work with the Juvenile Justice Center of Philadelphia has led us to research issues currently affecting foster youth and their families. Learning about JJC’s mission made us curious about the structuring of nonprofits and how they use their resources to attract volunteers, encourage potential donors, and reach clients who may benefit from their services. Saint Joseph's University students already have access to a fantastic Weekly Service program that connects us to several local nonprofits, but Beautiful Social consultants, or anyone inspired by the work that Beautiful Social has done, can use the spark of that new interest in nonprofit work to help other local organizations even after our partnership with our clients, and with Beautiful Social, has ended. Following is a list of a few Philadelphia nonprofits student consultants can become involved in.
The Center for Literacy offers free classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) and GED preparation, as well as adult education services in subjects ranging from math to writing to résumé writing and career preparation. Learners at the CFL come from all over the world and from all different walks of life. One current CFL student went from having no English proficiency to applying for master’s programs. Volunteers for the CFL can be from any academic background; requirements are only that potential volunteers attend three mandatory training sessions and either have a bachelor’s degree or pursuing one.
Covenant House is a national nonprofit that provides shelter, medical services, and vocational training to young people under 21 experiencing housing instability. Covenant House’s approach to serving the unique needs of youth who have experienced homelessness is careful and intentional: only residents’ immediate needs, such as meals, medical attention, and sleep are addressed during the initial phase of their stay. Once their immediate needs have stabilized, residents consult with staff about connecting their interests and abilities to one of Covenant House’s vocational training programs, referred to as the CHOICES (Covenant House Orientation in Career Enhancement Skills) program. The unique Rites of Passage program supports former Covenant House residents who are currently employed. Participants pay rent while in the program, which is returned to them at the time of move-out to put toward housing costs in a place of their own. Volunteers with Covenant House need to be at least 21 years old and complete training provided by the organization. If you aren’t yet 21, there are still ways to become involved! The DYI fundraising program invites supporters to create their own individual campaigns for Covenant House. For more ways to get involved, Covenant House has a whole informational page about ways passionate supporters can give to the organization.
Founded as the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Philadelphia, The William Way Center is now named after one of its most influential directors during the 1980’s. Bill Way, a planner with the City of Philadelphia. Through its programming, the Center supports inclusion of and creates community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Philadelphians. Events held at the Center include art exhibitions and workshops; the Center is also home to a diverse library of over 14,000 books, many of which deal with LGBTQ-related topics. Volunteers are needed to assist with peer counseling, as well as cataloging books and assisting with projects in the Center’s library. The Center also has an informational page about volunteer opportunities, which are also offered on a one-time basis with special events, here.