Summer Service Project

OCSE summer service participants
Each year, the OCSE invites applicants for our summer internship program. This program involves working for a local non-profit agency for 8 weeks, 35-40 hours per week. Those who are accepted into (and finish!) the program are awarded a $2500 tuition credit and are provided with on-campus housing and a food stipend. We meet weekly as a group for dinner and discussion, a time for talking through the events of the week, problem solving, and just enjoying one another's fellowship. Agency placements are done very carefully, seeking a match between you and the people you will be working with and for, including concern for similar values, personalities, and interests.
Since 2005, over 35 students have been accepted into the program. Below you will find a selection of some of our past participants, their agency, and a paragraph about their work over the summer. If you are interested in applying for the program, contact Carrie Call at

Connie Adams (major: Social Work): YWCA

The YWCA is a women's shelter for chemical dependency and domestic violence victims. It is a great opportunity to understand women who are at a different place in their lives than you. You will have the opportunity to answer crisis phone calls, do intake paperwork, and sit in on group sessions of all kinds. The staff and volunteers at the shelter are inspirational and supportive. Although not an easy job, it is rewarding. It will challenge you beyond your means, but you will still come out on top. I would recommend this position to someone who wants to challenge herself and grow in ways she does not understand at this time.

Jessie Sobczyk (major: Social Work): Hope Ministries

Hope Ministries was an engaging placement that allowed me to tailor my experiences so I could learn what I wanted to learn. I was able to shadow a case manager as she met with her clients, sit in on a meeting of the Substance Abuse group, and even meet with clients on my own to do some assessment paperwork with them. The best part of my placement was all the direct contact with the residents I was able to have. I am a Social Work major, and this placement allowed me to see the theories and social issues I've been studying for the past three years. It has allowed me to put into practice the social work skills I've learned. I learned so much about myself, about social issues, and about human nature that I couldn't have learned in a classroom.

Christy Dietz (major: Psychology): Women's Care Center

As a counselor at the Women's Care Center I was able to develop the skills necessary to provide service for women facing unexpected pregnancies in a woman-centered yet life affirming environment. I received excellent training during the first half of my time spent at the WCC and was then able to work on my own as a staff counselor for the second half of my time with the agency. My role as a counselor was to provide information, material help, and support to women in crisis. My primary task was to conduct intake interviews with clients and assess their needs. Most clients came in seeking free, confidential pregnancy testing. As part of these counseling sessions I was able to discuss with women their options if faced with an unplanned pregnancy, their relationships, their lifestyle choices, and their decision making processes. My goal was to provide women with the information they needed to make fully informed decisions, especially in regard to issues such as abortion, adoption, birth control, and abstinence. I was also responsible for helping women meet their physical needs and those of their children by providing them with community referrals as well as material assistance.

Grace Fey (major: Psychology and Communicative Disorders) Children's Dispensary

My placement was at the Children's Dispensary and I worked with special needs children ranging from ages 5-28. I participated in the summer camps and field trips, as well as going into their office to do research and grant writing. There are several different kinds of camps involved. They include: Fun n' Learn, field trips, Teen Club, and bowling. I had a lot of fun and I loved working with the kids! I recommend this project for anyone who is interested in working with children or is possibly interested in pursuing the mental health field. You learn so much, meet some really great people, and you have a ton of fun!

Carolyn Madison (major: Accounting): Center for the Homeless


This summer I worked at the Center for the Homeless of South Bend. I worked in the volunteer services department where I was able to help with daily activities ranging from child care to adult education instruction as well as organizing community service activities for guests to do outside of the Center. I interacted daily with the guests and got to know their stories and desires to change their lives. Often times the stories were sad and sometimes people were comfortable just living in the moment. There were also numerous situations where people were committed to making a positive change for themselves and their children. It was a good summer for me despite the sad stories because it was a summer of hope and growth.

Sara Gunn (major: Humanistic Studies): Saint Margaret's House

I worked at Saint Margaret's House in South Bend, Indiana. Saint Margaret's is a day center for women and children. My job was directing the Summer Children's Program. I planned and facilitated activities for the children of the guests of Saint Margaret's, who range in ages. Activities included things like kids yoga, painting, sports activities, and various field trips. I think it was a valuable project because the children love being engaged in all kinds of activities and need something to stimulate them while out of school. Besides benefiting the children, I benefited from the experience as well because I learned a lot about other people and working environments. It was also a great experience because of the Summer Service group of students.

Erin McQueen (major: Biology, pre-med): Sister Maura Brannik Health Clilnic (Chapin Street)


The Sister Maura Brannik Health Clinic is a wonderful place to spend a summer of service. It is particularly beneficial for those who hope to enter the medical profession. At the clinic, the student is able to prepare patients for the physician. This includes obtaining weight, height, blood pressure, blood glucose levels and pain location and intensity. The student is also given the responsibility of maintaining and preparing charts. The physicians also serve as mentors to students, offering advice and knowledge. The second department is Community Outreach. This position mostly entails clerical work. The student is exposed to the bookkeeping needs of a health organization. A few health fairs and health awareness events are included.

Kate VanDamme: Chapin Street Clinic and Healthworks Children's Museum

The Chapin Street Clinic is a health center whose patients are without medical insurance and are also inelidgeable for medicare and medicade. Volunteer physicians, dentists, and nurses serve hundreds from Saint Joseph county at the Clinic. Student volunteers also extremely important to this organization. Responsibilities include greeting and checking in patients; locating, preparing, and filing medical charts; preparing patients for their physician, which includes taking their weight, height, temperature, and blood pressure; and assisting nurses and doctors as needed. Volunteers are given proper training and validated in each area of responsibility before performing the tasks alone. Opportunities to visit the homeless shelter, soup kitchens, and area churches on medical endeavors and to shadow an array of physicians are available at this site. This is an excellent volunteer experience.

Healthworks! is a division of Memorial Hospital. In the summertime the museum hosts field trips for area schools and organizations, day camps for children, as well as general public visitors. This volunteer experience requires creativity, energy, and enthusiasm. Responsibilities include greeting customers, assisting with and representing Healthworks! at special events such as health fairs and festivals, interacting with children in the museum, and assisting with summer camps and classes. The camps and classes include wacky science projects, cooky crafts, health and fitness topics and everything in between. This is a terrific place for working closely with children and combining ones' interests in creative arts and health sciences.