Spend your summer building community and becoming a changemaker! 

High school students in the Social Justice Institute Summer Teen Program earn community service hours and learn more about social justice issues all while supporting the women of Rosie's Place. This transformative, service-learning experience is designed to be a reflective exploration on how to build community.


Open to high school students ages 16-18, the program consists of several components:

  • Attending a 3-day training about social justice, issues facing our guests and how to make change.
  • Serving meals in our Dining Room in July, August and/or September.
  • Collaborating with fellow participants on a group service project.
  • Designing and implementing your own social justice action.
  • Completing an independent self-exploration project about being a changemaker.
  • Writing a reflection essay about your experience.



  • Meet other students interested in social justice.
  • Build community with, and learn from, the Rosie’s Place community.
  • Identify issues impacting your community and your role in making change.
  • Complete high school community service requirements.
  • Gain volunteer experience to include on college applications.
  • Receive a certificate of completion and a reference letter detailing your service.



Review the Frequently Asked Questions section or download the SJI flyer.

From Rosie’s Place… I’ve come to realize that social justice is not just about treating people equally, it’s also about showing people the kindness, compassion, and respect they deserve…[Guests] face a day with no one showing them respect because they’re homeless, or no one sending a smile their way. Rosie’s Place shows the women that they matter and deserve kindness.

- Rebecca

...this experience has put actual faces, hundreds of them, on the sometimes-abstract words 'homelessness' and 'scarcity.' It has humanized the people who are systematically dehumanized. When I start to feel distant from issues of scarcity or talk about social justice in lofty or abstract terms, this will be my anchor to bring me back to the actual people who struggle under these burdens on a daily basis and whose short and long-term needs Rosie’s Place is struggling, but always striving, to meet. I am thankful to Rosie’s Place and its guests for taking me into the learning zone, in which I received, and participated in, vital lessons in patience, compassion, and humanity.

- Katherine

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to other FAQs can be found on our Individual and Group Volunteering pages.

What is the Social Justice Institute (SJI) Summer Teen Program?

It is a hands-on, service-learning program for high school students ages 16-18 that combines community service with exposure to larger social issues such as poverty and homelessness. It has been called transformative by past participants and is designed to be a reflective exploration on how to build community.

What will I gain from being a part of this program?

Along with building an understanding of social justice in our community, our hope is that this experience will change the way you view volunteering and your role in making change. SJI can help you complete your high school community service requirements and gain volunteer experience to include on your college applications. Graduates of the program receive a certificate of completion and a Community Service Verification form that details your 65 hours of service. Your final reflection paper could possibly be the start of a college essay.

How old do I have to be to participate?

You must be between 16 and 18 years old by 6/7/22 to apply to SJI.

How will I be volunteering when at Rosie’s Place?

Participants volunteer about 15 hours in the Dining Room preparing, serving and cleaning up meals. Participants will have access to an online calendar and can sign up for shifts in July, August and/or September. Shifts are offered 7 days a week, in afternoon and evenings.

How will I spend the remaining 50 hours of the program helping out?

Along with pre-work, all SJI participants complete a 3-day training, a group service project, an independent action, a self-exploration project as well as a reflection essay. Details about each component will be shared at the training.

When does the Social Justice Institute Summer Teen Program take place?

The 3-day training happens at the end of June. The remainder of the program happens in the months of July and August. Volunteer shift times vary, with potential availability 7 days a week. For exact dates of required program activities and assignments, check out the application.

How do I apply?

Complete a SJI application here.

When does the application become available?

Applications are available now.

When are applications due?

Applications are due on 6/7/22.

When will I be notified about the status of my application?

Applicants will be notified by 6/14/22, as to the status of their application.

What does the program entail?

SJI participants will be asked to complete and participate in the following:
  • Pre-work, a self-exploration project, a social justice action, and a reflection paper remotely at their own self-pace.
  • 3-day hybrid trainings that will take place in-person and virtually, Tuesday 6/28/22 through Thursday 6/30/22.
  • 4 volunteer shifts that will take place in-person in our Dining Room, from 7/1/22 to 9/15/22.
  • A group project where participants will work independently and collaboratively, virtually and in-person to secure supplies for, as well as assemble Care Packages on 8/3/22.
  • Attend an end of program-celebration on 8/10/22.
Completion of all activities and assignments are required to graduate.

Is attendance at the training mandatory?

Yes. The SJI 3-day hybrid trainings is our kickoff event where participants will get to meet other SJI participants and staff. We’ll talk about program expectations and start the conversation about social justice issues.

I have a lot of things planned this summer. How do I select shifts that work around my schedule?

Volunteer shifts are available 7/1/22 to 9/15/22 in the afternoon and evening. Once you are accepted to the program you gain access to an online calendar and can sign up for shifts that work for you.

What will we be talking about in the training?

Participants will be discussing social justice issues that affect the women that visit Rosie’s Place and those who are facing poverty and homelessness in Boston. Some of the topics we will discuss include inequality, privilege, and gender inequality. The pre-work will give you good idea of what to expect in the training.

My schedule is really full this summer. Do I have to attend a seminar even if I can make my volunteer shifts?

Seminars are an integral component of this educational program and attendance at least one is required to participate.

None of the shifts/trainings works with my schedule. Can I still participate?

We ask participants to commit to all trainings and complete all volunteer shifts. If you cannot find spots that work for you, please consider volunteering as an individual applicant. Visit our volunteer page to complete a registration form to get started.