Discover Emmanuel

A Summer of Service, Learning and Fellowship

August 29, 2017

Community Service Summer Fellows
From left to right: Alanna Woodlock (ABCD), Caitlyn Reilly (NDEC), Jonathan Rowe (Sociedad Latina), Jillian Hyburg (Urban Food Project)

Caitlyn Reilly '18 spent the summer teaching reading and writing to adult learners at the Notre Dame Education Center in South Boston as part of Emmanuel's Community Service Summer Fellows program. "This work is important to me," Reilly says, "because it echoes clearly the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame, who founded our school and the center I'm working at. The Sisters see education as God's greatest gift." She adds that "getting to meet and befriend these members of my Boston community has really been the best part of the summer."

For the sixth consecutive year, Emmanuel's Community Service Summer Fellows program matched students like Caitlyn with local nonprofit organizations for a summer of service and experiential learning. This year, 12 students were selected to live at Emmanuel's Notre Dame Campus in Roxbury and work with area groups such as Mission Grammar School, the Boston Food Project and St. Ambrose Catholic Charities.

"The Summer Fellows program provides a great opportunity for students to contribute to our community, which closely aligns with Emmanuel's mission of service," says Deirdre Bradley-Turner, Emmanuel's director of community service and service learning.

The fellowships, Bradley-Turner explains, are funded and sponsored by different groups within the Emmanuel community. For example, this year's three St. Julie Billiart Fellows were funded through Mission and Ministry, three fellows were funded through the Carolyn A. Lynch Institute and the Education Department, five fellows were funded through the Jean Yawkey Center for Community Leadership and one fellow, who cared for the community garden at the Notre Dame Campus, is funded by Emmanuel's Urban Food Project.

Community Service Summer Fellows 2
From left to right: Lorrayne Britto Assis (Julie's Family Learning Program), Jason St. Jacques (Mission Grammar School), Faarooq Sahabdeen (Mission Grammar School), Olivia Richard (Mission Grammar School)

Bradley-Turner reports that, over the past six years, several fellows have gone on to work full-time with their service site following graduation. In addition, several Emmanuel graduates who participated in the program have stayed on at the College, where they continue to contribute to the program. For example, Mark Durham, who was a 2016 summer fellow working at Mission Grammar School, was this year's Summer Fellowship Program Coordinator, and Samantha Bissell '15, took part in the fellowship during its second year, serving at Julie's Family Learning Program, and she returned as program coordinator in 2015 and 2016. 

"As a fellow, I received an unparalleled real-world education from the students, staff and families," says Bissell. "As coordinator, I had the privilege of listening to students as they processed their experiences alongside peers, faculty and staff." Today, Bissell continues to support the fellowship program by working full-time in Emmanuel's Cardinal Seán O'Malley Center for Mission and Ministry.

Each spring, students apply for the program. Applications are reviewed by the Mission and Ministry staff, and applicants are matched with a nonprofit for summer work. Emmanuel's community partners then interview the students and final selections are made.

Participants in the program stay at the Notre Dame Campus and receive a $1,500 stipend, a $500 gift card to Stop & Shop and a "Charlie Card" for riding the MBTA throughout the summer. In addition, the fellows take part in weekly community dinners, where they share their fellowship experiences with members of the College faculty and staff.

This year's Community Service Summer Fellows:

  • Alanna Woodlock - Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD)
  • Tasneem Mitchell - Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD)
  • Jonathan Rowe - Sociedad Latina
  • Lauren Boissonnault - St. Ambrose Family Shelter
  • Tina Le - The Food Project
  • Jillian Hyburg - Urban Food Project
  • Emily McCarthy - Julie's Family Learning Program
  • Lorrayne Assis - Julie's Family Learning Program
  • Caitlyn Reilly - Norte Dame Education Center
  • Faarooq Sahabdeen -Mission Grammar School
  • Jason St. Jacques - Mission Grammar School  
  • Olivia Richard - Mission Grammar School