Philadelphia is rooted in a deep history – nicknamed the birthplace of America. The Liberty Bell finds its home here. The men who are named the fathers of our nation walked our streets and made their homes here, hoping to build the city on a foundation of justice and freedom. Yet so often the story of the city “of brotherly love” does not point to this freedom, and presents a challenge for each of us to consider what is preventing people from experiencing full freedom. As a city with a high rate of deep poverty, many people's lives are impacted by the complex issues in our society. Philadelphia challenges groups to find ways to engage as we seek a grander experience of the future.
The city remains anchored to the tension between the old and the new, the already and not yet. Murals unite neighborhoods under banners of awareness, joy and celebration. The cobblestone streets are swept revealing the rich history that can become covered by the litter of today. Holidays are celebrated with gusto and joy. Fairmount Park covers over 9,200 acres of landscaped open space promoting physical activities and peace from the busyness of urban centers. Philadelphia's rich history and our present community invites us into the search for the beauty found in justice and freedom.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR TRIP
We work with a wide variety of partners throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. When serving with CSM Philadelphia, you could be partnering with neighborhood clean ups, homeless shelters (primarily sorting clothing, cleaning, and connecting with participants), nursing homes, a furniture warehouse, food distribution centers, or summer camps and after school programs. We also partner with a few grassroots organizations that may not fall into these categories but serve their community through other models such as the arts and community outreach. Much of our work is relational, while some is more manual or physical work, within the context of our relational long-term partnerships.
Groups can either serve at a different location each morning and each afternoon, or will be placed with an "anchor site" such as an after school program or summer camp for half of the day. This serves to build relationships throughout the week, and groups who do serve at an anchor site will still serve at other places in the second half of the day.
Meet the Directors
Joe hails from the small, rural, town of Richmond, Indiana. In 2013, he felt called to work with the homeless by becoming a City Host with CSM in Chicago. After his life changing summer with CSM, Joe completed his degree in Psychology and Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University. The next year, Joe lived out his newfound values by living in intentional community and volunteering full time with Mission Year in Philadelphia. In 2016, Joe chose to merge his hosting knowledge with his newfound love for Philadelphia by joining the CSM Philadelphia team as the Associate City Director. Joe hopes that he will be able to learn more about the whole city of Philadelphia while empowering hosts and groups to take lessons learned in the city and apply them to their hometowns. Joe hopes to one day visit every local Philly coffee shop and watch each movie on AFI’s 100 Years 100 Movies list.
Olivia is originally from West Chester, PA. She graduated from West Chester University with a degree in Women's and Gender Studies, a minor in Youth Empowerment and Urban Studies, as well as a minor in Communication Studies. Her first experience with CSM was attending a trip when she was in high school. This trip was so transformational for her that she hosted in Philadelphia the summer of 2014. As the Associate Director, she is looking forward to being more in depth with what our partners are doing in the city, and knowing that trip participants are being transformed by that and seeing people come to follow the Lord in a new way.