Serving as a resource to the community is an important part of the mission of Community College of Philadelphia, where we prepare our students to be informed, concerned citizens and active participants in the cultural life of the city. Our students, faculty and staff help address broad economic, cultural and political concerns in the city and beyond through a variety of community service initiatives. Following is a sampling of community service in action initiatives at the College.
Focus On Community Service
Several opportunities exist for students to get involved in enhancing their community. The Philadelphia L.E.A.D.S. (Leadership, Education, Achievement, Diversity, Success) program, which accepts students by invite or application, has a Service subcommittee that organizes community projects for program members.
Many of the College’s student clubs also offer volunteering components. “More than half of our clubs consistently do service throughout the year,” said Jenavia Weaver, coordinator of Student Life and Leadership.
Students get involved in annual events like the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by donating their time and talents on this day honoring the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While many of us vacation or relax on spring break, members of the College community dedicate their time and energy to an alternative spring break building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Past locations have included Highlands County, Florida; North Charleston and Gaffney, South Carolina; and Battle Creek, Michigan.
Community service is also intrinsic to the College curriculum. One example is the 19130 ZIP Code Project, a service learning project in which Nursing students have provided a wide range of health promotion and disease prevention services to clients in a variety of community agencies.
Wills for Heroes
The Wills for Heroes programs provide essential legal documents free of charge to our nation's first responders, including wills, living wills and powers of attorney. Launched at the College during the 2010 Law and Society Week, this annual initiative combines service to the community with service learning opportunities for Community College of Philadelphia students. Students work with legal employers to help clients prepare wills and basic estate documents. Plus, volunteer notaries work alongside students and professional attorneys in this national initiative. The College is the first institution of higher education to expand this event into a service learning project.
Free Dental Care Brightens Thousands of Smiles
The College’s Dental Clinic has been cleaning, examining, sealing and filling teeth—free of charge—for more than 30 years. What started as a free hygiene and educational service for community members needing dental health care has become an essential part of the city’s health care infrastructure. The 16-chair clinic, funded by the College, also serves as a teaching and training facility for Dental Hygiene students. Students treat approximately 1,000 patients each year, many referred by the city’s District Health Centers. Students who work in the clinic grasp the impact and importance of the clinic in the communities they help serve. This is an important lesson in a society where the cost of health care is ever rising as people are living longer, among other issues. The Dental Clinic is located on the Main Campus at 1700 Spring Garden Street. Hours, by appointment, vary during the week. Call 215-751-8626 for more information.
Reentry Support Project
The Reentry Support Project, an initiative of the Fox Rothschild Center for Law and Society, develops and implements College-wide and community strategies for increasing the recruitment and retention of students with criminal histories. Formed in 2009, it started with an “Inside-Out” course at Cambria Detention Center. The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program is a national initiative based at Temple University that provides individuals on both sides of prison walls an opportunity to study together in college courses. A Predominantly Black Institution grant assisted the College in expanding efforts to include, among other workshops, events and activities, a unique program offering credit courses for incarcerated inmates.