Get Involved

High school students can make a difference in the summer! Students in the Social Justice Institute earn community service hours and learn more about social justice issues while providing much-needed volunteer service to the poor and homeless women at Rosie’s Place. 


Thank you for your interest in the Social Justice Institute Summer Teen Program. This program has been paused. Please check back for updates.


  • High school students ages 16-18
  • Volunteer for any 12 shifts serving lunch or dinner in our Dining Room or assisting guests in our Food Pantry
  • Attend a social justice training as well as an educational seminar about issues facing our guests
  • Complete a self-guided service project, independent research project and reflection paper
  • Shifts are available July and August. Shifts are offered 7 days a week during morning, afternoon and evening hours


  • Meet other students interested in social justice
  • Help people in need and learn about issues impacting your community
  • 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.

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

Along with building an understanding of social justice in our community, you can use the Social Justice Institute as a vehicle to complete your high school community service requirements and gain volunteer experience that you can include on your college applications. Graduates of the program receive a certificate of completion and a Community Service Verification form that details your 75 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 June 30th to apply to the Social Justice Institute.

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

Participants volunteer about 45 hours in the Dining Room preparing, serving and cleaning up meals and/or in the Food Pantry escorting shoppers in selecting fresh produce and non perishable food items.

How will I spend the remaining 30 hours of the program helping out?

All SJI participants complete a service project as well an independent research project. Details about the projects are shared at the training, about they involve taking action to make change in your community.

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

This is a summer program that happens in the months of July and/or August. When you apply, you will select volunteer shifts that work around your summer commitments. Shifts times vary with potential availability 7 days a week during morning, afternoon and evening hours. The remainder of the program activities are self-directed and can happen whenever you have time.

How do I apply?

Visit and complete a Social Justice Institute Summer Teen Program application.

When does the application become available?

Applications are available starting April 15th and stay open until program reaches capacity.

How long will it take to process my application?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and you are notified within a few days of submission as to the status of your application.


Rosie’s Place is located at 889 Harrison Ave in Boston -- close to the intersection of Mass Ave and Harrison Ave near the BU Medical Center. Taking public transportation or carpooling is definitely your best bet, but there is limited on-street parking and pay parking garages in the area. *Do not park in the Boston Water & Sewer or CVS lots as you will be towed. Directions are available here.

All participants complete:
  • A group training session
  • 12 volunteer shifts
  • At least 1 out of 2 educational seminars
  • A self guided service project
  • An independent research project
  • A reflection paper             

What does the program entail?

All participants complete:
  • A group training session
  • 12 volunteer shifts
  • At least 1 out of 2 educational seminars
  • A self guided service project
  • An independent research project
  • A reflection paper

Is attendance at the training mandatory?

Yes. The Social Justice Institute Training is our kick off event where participants will get to meet other Social Justice Institute 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?

When applying, you will be able to see which shifts are available. We ask that applicants to identify 15 shifts that will work for their summer schedule. You’ll receive notification of the 12 shifts you’re assigned to if you’re accepted into the program.

What will we be talking about in the seminars?

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.

How many seminars do I need to attend?

Participants are required to attend at least 1 but 2 is strongly recommended if possible.

Why is there only 1 seminar listed as an option on my application?

If there is only 1 seminars listed, it means the other seminar is at capacity. To participate in the program, you would need to be able to attend the remaining seminar.

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/seminars works with my schedule. Can I still participate?

Unfortunately, we ask all participants to commit to 12 shifts and 1 seminars.  If you can not find spots that work for you, please consider volunteering as an individual applicant. Visit for more information.