Netter Center Summer of Service Learning for High School Students

Application Deadline: February 28, 2022

Summer 2022 Anticipated Dates: June 27 - August 5, 2022*

* We currently expect to implement in-person summer programming for six weeks, although details are subject to change, including the possibility of hybrid or virtual programming. 


Founded in 1992, the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships is the University's primary vehicle for advancing civic and community engagement at Penn. It brings together the resources and assets of both the University and the wider community to help solve universal problems such as poverty, health inequities, environmental sustainability, and inadequate, unequal education as they are manifested in the University's local geographic area of West Philadelphia and Philadelphia at large. The Netter Center develops and helps implement democratic, mutually transformative, place-based partnerships between Penn and West Philadelphia that advance research, teaching, learning, practice, and service and improve the quality of life on campus and in the community. The Netter Center works with and serves as a model for other higher education institutions across the United States and around the world.

The Netter Center Summer of Service Learning is an opportunity for high school aged youth to engage in service-learning activity in the Netter Center’s University-Assisted Community School (UACS) summer programming. Each summer, the Netter Center implements comprehensive, full-day summer camps for West Philadelphia students in kindergarten through eighth grade and work internships for West Philadelphia high school aged youth. The Summer of Service Learning (SSL) program provides an opportunity for select high school students from anywhere in the country – who have a demonstrated commitment to community service and experience in serving in their own local communities – to be immersed in the Netter Center’s UACS summer programs in West Philadelphia. Selected students will be assigned to a service location upon review of final applications. While some programming occurs on Penn’s campus, students will also be expected to travel to sites of service in West Philadelphia with their peers and/or undergraduate students. Students will work closely with Netter Center staff and undergraduate interns throughout their experience. Students will also participate in weekly group reflection sessions and share their experiences and learning through a presentation to their peers and staff at the end of the program.

Program Components

  • Training and preparation for service
  • Service in Netter Center UACS program (approximately 30 hours per week for two weeks)
  • Travel to service sites in West Philadelphia
  • Daily written reflections and weekly group reflection sessions
  • Sit in on at least one undergraduate seminar taught by Netter Center Director as part of the Netter Center’s Penn Program for Public Service summer internship program
  • Presentation to peers and staff at end of the program.

*Housing and meals not included (suggestions can be provided upon request).

*There is no cost to students serving in this program.

*Philadelphia residents may be eligible to also participate in the Netter Center’s paid summer work experience program.


  • Current 10th or 11th grade student, with preference given to rising seniors.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Demonstrated commitment to community service and/or service-learning
  • Strong letter of recommendation
  • Background clearances (to be processed by the Netter Center)

Application Materials

  1. Contact Information
    1. Name
    2. Address
    3. Email
    4. Phone Number
    5. High School Name and Location
  2. Please respond to each of the following questions in one or two paragraphs each:
    1. What do you hope to gain from participating in the Netter Center’s Summer of Service program?
    2. What community service experience and/or skills do you have that relates to the work of the Netter Center and will help you contribute to the Netter Center’s summer programs?
  3. One letter of recommendation must be provided by a staff member at your high school or other professional who can speak to your community service experience.
  4. An unofficial copy of your transcript.

Please send all application materials to


  • Application materials due February 28, 2022.
  • Finalists will be notified by email and invited for a phone interview.
  • Decisions will be made in March/April 2022.
  • Program is anticipated to take place June 27 - August 5, 2022*

* We currently expect to implement in-person summer programming for six weeks, although details are subject to change, including the possibility of hybrid or virtual programming.