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Penn Admissions Blog

Volunteer Work in College
Nina | November 21, 2017

Since high school I’ve been very interested in dedicating time to support causes that are near to my heart. Thankfully, during my time at Penn I’ve had many opportunities to volunteer. While I technically do volunteer work while learning in my nursing clinicals, there are also other classes that have opportunities to volunteer for school credit, called ABCS (Academically Based Community Service) courses. Last semester, I was in a class called “Writing For Children” with the author and activist Lorene Cary. In her course, we had to get involved with projects around the city and write about our experiences, in addition to learning how to write to an audience of young people. We also spent time working on writing pieces for a website called Safe Kids Stories, which “creates a real and virtual community to write our way toward more cultural protections for children, starting here in urban Philadelphia and radiating out.” The site allows young people and those who care for them to share stories of finding comfort and safety within the vulnerability of childhood.

This semester, I’m enrolled in a class called Women and Incarceration. Once a week, we drive to a local correctional facility and teach health workshops to a group of about 30 women who have signed up for the program. It has absolutely been the most rewarding class of my undergraduate experience. The women have taught me so much, and I feel that the work we are doing as a class is very relevant and helpful for them, which makes the course feel so much more meaningful. I’ve had the chance to hear from participants how thankful they are to see us each week, or how they’re going to take what they learned from us and teach others. While it took some people a while to warm up to us, I’ve also felt so honored to hear so many insightful and important stories from each of them.

ABCS courses are just one of the many ways you can get involved with the community while at Penn. If you’re interested in more direct community work, there are also programs like Community Champions within the nursing school, and many other volunteer opportunities  through Civic House programs.

About the author

I'm majoring in Nursing and minoring in Creative Writing. Although I grew up on a farm in South Jersey, my heart lies in the city. As for my campus involvement, I'm a dancer in Penn Masti, a radio DJ at WQHS Radio, and co-chair of Penn SNUGS (Penn Student Nurses Understanding Gender and Sexuality). I'm constantly caught in a daydream, have a passion for helping others, and plan on building myself an extraordinary life. Join me on my journey!

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted.


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