Since its inception at Stonehill in 1992, Into the Streets (ITS) has been committed to engaging members of the Stonehill Community in meaningful service experiences that challenge and teach them to be agents of social change, committed to the creation of a just and compassionate society. Stonehill’s Into the Streets program is a part of the national Campus Outreach Opportunity League’s (COOL) Into the Streets program. However, Stonehill adapted COOL’s concept of day of service for first-year students at their fall orientation, and developed it into a yearlong service program for freshmen through seniors.
The mission of the program embodies the Foundation’s mission “to engage more people more effectively in volunteer community service to help solve serious social problems.” The Into the Streets program provides many opportunities for students to serve. At the core of ITS is student leadership and community partnerships. The ITS Leadership Team has 2 Student Directors and 16 Student Site Coordinators. This team is responsible for the site-related programs’ success as well as the overall operations of ITS. In addition, the program has a Summer Intern who is responsible for organizing and executing ITS Day during Fall Orientation.
ITS consists of over 350 students who participate in over 30 different service agencies on a regular basis. Into the Streets also publishes a directory of over 80 local non-profit, human services agencies, which the students can use to organize their own service experiences. Besides the annual ITS Day, ITS’ programming has numerous additional aspects. Eight daily volunteer opportunities in which groups of students teach English as a Second Language, work with children in a homeless shelter, deliver food and furniture to those in need, tutor junior high students, assist at an adult day health program and do childcare for a family in crisis. Ten weekly volunteer opportunities in which students serve at two nursing homes, a mentoring program, an animal shelter, two transitional housing shelters, a community agency which advocates for the Hong people, a high school and two group homes.
Monthly volunteer opportunities at a children’s museum, a food bank, two inner-city parishes and a senior center are also recipients of ITS’s service. ITS is involved in annual community service opportunities like the Aids Walk, Cancer Walk, Walk for Hunger, Make a Difference Day, Up With People Service Day, trips with residents of a state hospital, phone-a-thons and food drives. ITS also has weekly reflection suppers where students gather to dine and reflect on their personal service experiences. The community agencies provide guest speakers on various topics of social injustice or public policy and how it affects the people they serve. ITS also promotes a life-long commitment to service by publicizing post-graduate volunteer opportunities through individual student resource counseling, Alumni panels and an annual Recruiter Nigh in which different volunteer organizations gather to interact with interested students.
Stonehill students involved in ITS completed over 4,600 hours of service during the 2000–2001 academic year. Since the inception of ITS, the amount of service hours completed through ITS has increased 450% and the number of student participants has increased 100%.