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15 Summer Programs Focused on Community Service and Social Impact

February 12, 2024
By AdmissionSight
High schoolers volunteering during the summer.

15 Summer Programs Focused on Community Service and Social Impact

Summer programs focused on community service and social impact have emerged as pivotal platforms for young individuals. These programs offer a practical avenue for engaging with community-oriented projects and foster a deeper understanding of our world’s complex social issues.

From immersive internships that dive into the heart of environmental sustainability in Jordan to innovative leadership training in the bustling cities of the United States, these initiatives are designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to drive meaningful change.

As we explore 15 diverse summer programs, each stands out for its unique approach to blending educational rigor with hands-on service and leadership development. These programs span various themes, including climate change, social entrepreneurship, public health, and more, reflecting the multifaceted nature of social impact work.

1. YCS Summer of Service 2024

  • Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  • Registration Fee: Free, donations encouraged
  • Important Dates: Program runs from June 12th – July 21st
  • Eligibility: All high school students entering 9th grade to graduating 12th grade.

The YCS Summer of Service 2024 stands out among summer programs focused on community service and social impact, offering an innovative platform for high school students across the San Francisco Bay Area to delve into meaningful projects and initiatives.

Students using paint to draw on a canvass.

This unique program, running from June 12th to July 21st, enables participants to choose from various tracks, including youth mental health and wellness, early childhood education, public health, mural art, and social activism, aligning with their interests and aspirations for social change.

Open to all high school students entering 9th grade up to those graduating 12th grade, the program is structured to foster leadership skills, community engagement, and personal growth. Participants have the chance to earn up to 100 hours of community service, with the opportunity to apply for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a testament to their commitment and contributions to society.

2. Summer Scholars Program at Georgetown University

  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • Registration Fee: Information not specified; inquire directly
  • Important Dates: Application opening in Spring 2024
  • Eligibility: Students with social impact projects and unpaid internships in social innovation/public service sectors.

The Summer Scholars Program at Georgetown University is a distinguished entry in the realm of summer programs focused on community service and social impact, tailored for students passionate about making a significant difference in their communities and beyond.

View of students lounging in the campus.

Launched by the Social Innovation and Public Service Fund, the program supports and funds students engaged in social impact projects or committed to unpaid summer internships within the social innovation and public service sectors.

A hallmark of Georgetown’s commitment to fostering social change, the program offers a dynamic platform for students to explore and deepen their engagement with critical social issues. Through this initiative, participants receive financial support and a valuable opportunity to immerse themselves in projects that align with their aspirations for societal betterment.

3. FTI Consulting’s Summer 2024 Leadership Program

  • Location: Virtual
  • Registration Fee: Not specified
  • Important Dates: Program in May 2024, apply by February 8, 2024
  • Eligibility: Bachelor’s degree candidates with a minimum 3.0 GPA, authorized to work in the US.​​

FTI Consulting’s Summer 2024 Leadership Program distinguishes itself among summer programs focused on community service and social impact by providing a unique blend of professional development and social responsibility.

a highschool student on an online class

This 2-day virtual leadership program, slated for May 2024, is specially designed for selected candidates keen on exploring opportunities within FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm committed to making an impact through expert guidance.

Unlike traditional summer engagements, this program emphasizes acquiring professional skills and cultivating a deep understanding of businesses’ role in fostering social impact. Selected attendees are afforded a rare glimpse into the consulting world, networking with business professionals, enhancing their professional development skills, and participating in activities that showcase their problem-solving abilities.

4. Startup UCLA: Social Entrepreneurship Summer Institute

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA (Virtual options available)
  • Registration Fee: Not specified; inquire for details
  • Important Dates: Application deadline June 1, 2024; Enrollment deadline June 15, 2024
  • Eligibility: Cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher from grade 9 to present.

The Startup UCLA: Social Entrepreneurship Summer Institute emerges as a significant fixture among summer programs focused on community service and social impact, meticulously crafted for individuals driven by a desire to address societal challenges through innovation and entrepreneurship.

a female student in an online class

Situated within the vibrant ecosystem of UCLA, this program aims to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to create and launch their own social enterprises or nonprofits. Unlike traditional academic offerings, the institute emphasizes hands-on experience, encouraging students to transform theoretical knowledge into actionable projects.

Participants are guided through researching, designing, and pitching a mission-oriented venture, culminating in a presentation to a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. This provides invaluable feedback and simulates the real-world process of seeking funding and support for social ventures.

5. HC IMPACT Week of Service 2024 at Michigan State University

  • Location: Greater Lansing area, MI
  • Registration Fee: Not specified; includes 2 credits with a connected Fall semester course
  • Important Dates: Program from August 17-21, 2024
  • Eligibility: Incoming Honors College and Academic Scholars Program members.

HC IMPACT Week of Service 2024 at Michigan State University carves out a distinctive niche within summer programs focused on community service and social impact, tailored for new members of the Honors College and the Academic Scholars Program.

View of students walking in the campus.

This initiative is an immersive journey into the heart of community service and learning set against the backdrop of the Greater Lansing area. Scheduled from August 17-21, 2024, the program introduces participants to various focus areas related to social inequities, such as poverty, health, education, and the environment.

Through a blend of service projects and reflective discussions, students are not only exposed to the realities of societal challenges. Still, they are also given tools to contribute meaningfully towards addressing them.

6. Future Leaders in Public Service Internship Program

  • Location: Various U.S. locations
  • Registration Fee: Stipends provided; $5,000 for full-time positions
  • Important Dates: Summer internship, 10-12 weeks long
  • Eligibility: U.S. citizens, currently enrolled undergraduates or graduates with a GPA above 2.5​.

The Future Leaders in Public Service Internship Program emerges as a standout among summer programs focused on community service and social impact, meticulously designed to bridge the gap between academic learning and real-world public service careers.

Three caucasian students talking to each other.

This innovative program offers a structured yet immersive experience, providing a rare opportunity for students to engage directly with key public service sectors. Participants can work within various career tracks, including Public Administration, Science, Mathematics and Engineering, Government Contracting and Acquisition, Liberal Arts, Public Interest Technology, and Data Science. This diversity ensures that students from various disciplines can find meaningful and impactful internships that align with their academic interests and career aspirations.

What sets this program apart is the breadth of opportunities and the depth of engagement it offers. Interns receive substantial stipends, making the internships accessible and equitable, attracting a diverse cohort of future leaders.

7. Bridges to Social Justice Academy at Georgetown University

  • Location: Washington, D.C.
  • Registration Fee: Not specified; inquire directly
  • Important Dates: Two-week program; specific dates not provided
  • Eligibility: High school students interested in social justice.

The Bridges to Social Justice Academy at Georgetown University stands as a pioneering educational initiative among summer programs focused on community service and social impact, designed to engage high school students deeply with the principles and practice of social justice.

Group of students walking in the campus.

Set within the prestigious environment of Georgetown University, this program delves into the complexities of advocacy, equity, and systemic change, providing participants with an immersive experience that goes beyond traditional learning paradigms. Students are invited to explore the multifaceted nature of social injustices, their root causes, impacts, and the transformative visions necessary for genuine societal progress.

The academy fosters a rich learning environment Through a comprehensive curriculum encompassing workshops, small group dialogues, reflection sessions, site visits, and extracurricular activities. Here, students gain theoretical knowledge and are encouraged to apply what they learn in practical contexts, enhancing their skills in public speaking, project design, active listening, and collaboration.

8. Columbia Social Impact Fellowship

  • Location: New York, NY
  • Registration Fee: Not specified
  • Important Dates: Begins July 2024
  • Eligibility: Rising juniors and seniors at Columbia College, School of General Studies, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Barnard College.

The Columbia Social Impact Fellowship stands as a remarkable example among summer programs focused on community service and social impact, tailored specifically for the ambitious student body at Columbia University, including those from Columbia College, the School of General Studies, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Barnard College.

Columbia University of New York in winter

This fellowship, embedded in the rich academic and cultural environment of one of the world’s leading universities, offers rising juniors and seniors a unique opportunity to engage in a series of education and training opportunities to address complex global issues.

Distinctive in its approach, the fellowship aligns with Columbia Global’s mission to utilize scholarly pursuits, leadership development, and impactful projects to forge meaningful solutions to global challenges. The program nurtures academic and professional growth by inviting students to apply their talents to solve such problems. It instills a deep sense of social responsibility and a commitment to positive change.

9. DSHS Internship Program

  • Location: Washington (Hybrid or remote work schedule)
  • Registration Fee: Paid internship; $18.51/hour
  • Important Dates: June 3, 2024 – August 9, 2024, or June 17, 2024 – August 23, 2024
  • Eligibility: College students in good standing with full-time availability during the summer.

The DSHS Internship Program distinguishes itself as an integral component among summer programs focused on community service and social impact. It is tailored for college students eager to immerse themselves in the multifaceted world of public service.

Female student smiling at the camera.

This initiative, launched by the Department of Health and Human Services, offers a dynamic, 10-week, full-time opportunity for students committed to making a difference in various sectors, such as social work, data management, program development, and marketing strategies.

Situated within a supportive environment that values creativity and diversity, the program provides a unique blend of hands-on experience and professional growth, allowing interns to explore diverse business units and collaborate with seasoned professionals.

10. Social Innovation Forum Internship

  • Location: Eastern Massachusetts
  • Registration Fee: Not specified
  • Important Dates: Summer 2024; exact dates not provided
  • Eligibility: Current undergraduate students​.

The Social Innovation Forum Internship is a distinctive opportunity among summer programs focused on community service and social impact, specifically designed for current undergraduate students who aspire to make a tangible difference in the Eastern Massachusetts community.

Group of students walking in the campus.

This initiative by the Social Innovation Forum (SIF) is a critical bridge between academic pursuits and practical engagement in social change, highlighting the organization’s commitment to accelerating positive social impact through strategic networking and capacity building. Interns at SIF are plunged into the heart of social innovation, working closely with nonprofit leaders, philanthropists, and a diverse range of partners committed to driving systemic change.

The program stands out for its hands-on approach. It offers interns a chance to undertake meaningful projects across various dimensions of social innovation, from engaging and informing funders to supporting nonprofit leaders in delivering effective solutions to social issues.

11. Cultural Leadership Fellowship: DACA International Program

  • Location: Various international locations for U.S. participants
  • Registration Fee: $3,250 – $4,000 depending on the program, plus a $950 non-refundable deposit
  • Important Dates: Applications closed on November 30, 2023, for the Summer 2024 program
  • Eligibility: Must be undocumented, approved DACA status, at least 18 years old, and fully vaccinated against COVID-19​.

The Cultural Leadership Fellowship: DACA International Program is a unique and forward-thinking initiative among summer programs focused on community service and social impact, catering specifically to DACA recipients.

Group of students talking.

This program distinguishes itself by offering a blend of cultural immersion and leadership development, allowing participants to expand their global perspective through ethnographic research and international travel.

Designed to empower undocumented youth with DACA status, the fellowship underscores the importance of giving voice and agency to a group often marginalized in discussions about global leadership and social change.

12. Johns Hopkins University Summer Social Sciences Programs

  • Location: Baltimore, MD
  • Registration Fee: Not specified; inquire directly for more details
  • Important Dates: Not provided; check the program’s website for updates
  • Eligibility: Aimed at those interested in social sciences; specific criteria may vary​.

The Johns Hopkins University Summer Social Sciences Programs stand as an exemplary model within summer programs focused on community service and social impact, designed to deepen students’ understanding of the complex interplay between individuals and societies.

Two students talking on the stairs.

These programs, nestled within the esteemed academic environment of Johns Hopkins University, offer participants a unique opportunity to explore the broad and dynamic field of social sciences through a lens that emphasizes social responsibility and active engagement with global challenges.

Crafted for those interested in economics, political science, and sociology, the programs aim to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of social issues while fostering critical thinking, analytical skills, and a commitment to social change.

13. PALS Programs

  • Location: Various U.S. cities
  • Registration Fee: $2,250 for full-week, $1,850 for modified-week, plus a $50 processing fee
  • Important Dates: Summer 2024; specific dates available on their website
  • Eligibility: Services all age ranges, specifically focusing on individuals with Down syndrome​.

The PALS Programs are a beacon of inclusivity and empowerment within summer programs focused on community service and social impact. They offer a suite of initiatives designed to foster community, understanding, and personal growth among young adults with Down syndrome and their peers.

Female student talking to a woman.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, PALS has curated a diverse array of programs set to take place across various key cities in the United States, each program being a testament to the organization’s enduring commitment to creating spaces where individuals with Down syndrome can thrive, learn, and connect.

What sets PALS apart is its holistic approach to inclusivity, serving participants across all age ranges with programs tailored to meet its diverse participant base’s unique needs and aspirations. Whether through modified-week programs for individuals with greater independence or full-week invoices catering to a broader age spectrum, PALS ensures that each participant’s experience is enriching, supportive, and deeply impactful.

14. Student Leaders Program by MEPI

  • Location: U.S. universities for MENA region students
  • Registration Fee: Not specified; likely funded for selected participants
  • Important Dates: Four-week intensive program from June 28 until July 26, 2024
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students from the MENA region, aged 20-24, interested in climate change and environmental protection​.

The Student Leaders Program by MEPI (Middle East Partnership Initiative) is an influential and transformative initiative among summer programs focused on community service and social impact, designed specifically for undergraduate and graduate students from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

View to Jerusalem old city. Israel

With its rigorous leadership and civic engagement curriculum, this program aims to cultivate a cadre of young leaders committed to fostering positive change in their communities. The focus for the 2024-2025 program on Climate Change and Environmental Protection highlights the program’s commitment to addressing pressing global challenges through a localized lens.

Participants are selected through a competitive process to ensure that a diverse and dynamic group of young leaders are brought together, each bringing their unique perspectives and experiences to the program.

15. SIT Study Abroad Jordan: Internship in Climate Change and Sustainability

  • Location: Jordan
  • Registration Fee: Not specified; inquire directly
  • Important Dates: Not provided; consult SIT for specific program dates
  • Eligibility: Students interested in climate change and sustainability, offering internships with community-based organizations, NGOs, UN agencies, or government agencies in Jordan​.

The SIT Study Abroad Jordan: Internship in Climate Change and Sustainability program is a prime example of a summer program focused on community service and social impact, designed to offer students an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the urgent issue of climate change within Jordan’s unique environmental and cultural context. This innovative program blends academic rigor with practical experience, providing participants with a holistic understanding of sustainability challenges and climate change impacts in the Middle East.

Pretty student walking in the hallway of a building.

Students engaged in this program are placed in internships with community-based organizations, NGOs, UN agencies, or government agencies, where they work on projects directly related to environmental sustainability and climate change.

This hands-on approach allows students to apply theoretical knowledge gained through their academic studies and contribute meaningfully to ongoing efforts to address environmental challenges in the region.

Conclusion

Summer programs focused on community service and social impact represent an essential component of contemporary education, bridging the gap between academic learning and real-world application. By providing a platform for young leaders to explore their passions, develop their skills, and make a tangible difference, these programs enrich the participants’ lives and contribute to the broader goal of creating a more equitable and sustainable world.

Whether through the development of Community Engagement Plans, the fostering of cross-cultural understanding, or the direct application of academic knowledge to solve societal problems, the impact of these summer programs extends far beyond the duration of the projects themselves. They plant the seeds for a lifetime of engagement and service, shaping the next generation of ready and equipped leaders to take on future challenges.

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