Volunteer efforts strengthen community ties

Aug. 10, 2006 1:53 p.m.
SVC Intern Heidi Lam

Heidi Lam, a member of Princeton's class of 2008, helped a student with essay writing as part of Community House's computer camp at the University's Friend Center. Lam is one of 18 Princeton students working this summer at not-for-profit organizations through a program organized by the Student Volunteers Council. 

Below left: Shekida Smith (standing at right), a member of Princeton's class of 2009, worked with local children at a day camp run by Community House as part of an internship through the Student Volunteers Council. Here, she accompanied the students on a field trip to Iano's Rosticceria in Princeton, where they got a hands-on lesson in pizza-making from owner Iano Conigliaro, who also talked to the children about starting his own business as an immigrant in the United States. Smith spent most of the summer working with the children on improving their academic skills.

Photos by John Jameson 

The Student Volunteers Council, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary during the upcoming academic year, works to strengthen the relationship between the University and the community by sending students to work at soup kitchens, teach youngsters how to improve their study skills, help renovate houses and participate in dozens of other service projects.

  • More than 700 students make weekly visits to 55 service projects in Princeton, Trenton, Philadelphia and greater Mercer County during the school year.
  • During the summer, the SVC sends students to not-for-profit organizations all over the country as part of its summer service program. Eighteen students are working at organizations in seven states this summer, fostering self-sufficiency in Harlem, helping rehabilitate housing in Trenton, working with homeless women and children in Washington, D.C., and using sports to teach life skills to children in Virginia. On Princeton's campus they are serving as counselors at Community House's two summer camps, where they are teaching journalism, creating lesson plans and working with youngsters on their math and writing skills. Students also are volunteering in California, Colorado, Maryland and Ohio this summer. 
  • When the students in the summer program return to campus this fall, they will meet to share their experiences and talk about ways to bring the spirit of their work back to the University.
  • For the coming academic year, the SVC will focus on health care projects, bringing in speakers to talk about improving health care accessibility and highlighting its service projects related to health. A service project started last year will help collect unused medical products and medications to be distributed in developing countries.  
SVC Intern Shekida Smith