Out of an abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pay It Forward Summer Service Program has been canceled. Please contact Fr. Terry Deffenbaugh at tdeffenbaugh@stfrancis.edu or 815-740-3605 with any questions.

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Joliet, Ill. – Area sophomore, junior and senior high school students will have a unique opportunity this summer to earn service hours while giving back to the local community and learning more about the core values of the University of St. Francis (USF) through the University’s Pay It Forward summer service program.

During the program, which runs from June 22-25 (8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily), participating students will spend a majority of their time each day within the Joliet community at four service sites – Joliet Hope Center food pantry, Will County Forest Preserve, Habitat for Humanity, and Our Lady of Angels Retirement Home. The students will be placed into teams that will work alongside a USF staff member, and those teams will travel via USF buses to a different service site each day. Every student will participate in each of the four experiences. 

“Students will participate in three components each day of the program,” Rev. Terry Deffenbaugh, USF chaplain, theology instructor, and Pay It Forward program coordinator said.  “At the beginning of each day there will be activities focusing on four aspects of service and how each benefits the individual and serves the larger community. The four aspects of service: include learning and developing a sense of social responsibility for the community; engaging the student in the diversity in the community; working as a team (both leading and following) and understanding the importance of communication in any group activity, and; building relationships and connectedness with other students and USF staff, as well as those who are being served.”

“Service learning at USF provides the opportunity to incorporate the university’s values into learning experiences,” Deffenbaugh added. “These values include service (building community, sharing our gifts selflessly, caring for the needs of others); compassion (promoting empathy, forgiveness and peace); integrity (fulfillment of responsibilities, commitment to truth and justice) and respect (reverence for the gift of creation).”

The Pay It Forward summer service program costs $60 per participant, which covers all expenses and materials, including continental breakfast, snack at the work site, lunch, and transportation. Space in the program is limited. To register, visit stfrancis.edu/payitforward or call 815-740-3605 for more information.

Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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