Skip to main content

Philadelphia Social Justice Internship

Colorful row homes in south Philadelphia


The Philadelphia Area Social Justice Internship (PASJI) is sponsored by the Center for Peace and Justice Education and the Campus Ministry Center for Service and Social Justice.  The program provides Villanova undergraduates a funded opportunity to do social justice work in the greater Philadelphia region over the summer, accompanied by opportunities for shared reflection among the student cohort. 

  • This will be an 9-week internship for 20-25 hours/week from June 6-August 5, 2022.

  • The hope is for all 2022 placements to be in person. 

  • Stipend is $3,000.  

  • Community gatherings will take place throughout the process.  

  • Each gathering will include a short reading to enhance learning and discussion.



Internship responsibilities can include but must extend beyond basic administrative support. Students should be engaged in either content-driven work fundamental to the organization’s social justice mission and/or direct contact with the communities served by the organization.

Five designated internship opportunities are currently available for summer 2022.  One to two additional spots will be reservedmay be available for students who secure a social justice internship with an organization outside the five listed. 

To search for social justice internships, students may wish to consult Handshake and consider the suggested Peace and Justice search criteria.  Students may then present a proposal for inclusion in the summer program with their own internship.

Integral to the internship community is a commitment to spend time with other interns discussing social justice topics and engaging in reflection and community sharing.

Applications will be open in January will be due Wednesday, March 9, 2022 at 11:59PM.

Check out a reflection by 2019 Intern, Lailany!

If you have questions, reach out to Will Stehl



Through the VU/CRS Partnership Internship for Advocacy students will learn about and work on advocacy campaigns, awareness-raising efforts, and community mobilization around global social justice issues. Drawing on resources developed through the CRS University program and Catholics Confront Global Poverty Initiative, students will design promotional and advocacy campaigns for use by the Villanova CRS Ambassadors, a student group on campus promoting an engagement with the work of Catholic Relief Services. Currently the central themes of the CRS Ambassadors are migration, climate change, and human trafficking.


The student will gain exposure to global advocacy and partnerships, migration issues, climate change, etc.


The intern will work from the VU/CRS Partnership office at Villanova in developing advocacy resources, and as possible work with the CRS Regional Office for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic in Media, PA; the CRS headquarters in Baltimore, MD; and the CRS Advocacy Office in Washington, DC

CRS Partnership at Villanova Website


The Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) is a small nonprofit organization in Camden, NJ focused on the environment and food justice issues. We have service-learning retreats for students, volunteer programs, produce 2000+ pounds of food in our three urban gardens, have bee hives, produce our own hot sauce, have a Garden SEEDS program in two schools in Camden, and employ 12 Camden youth (ages 14-19) during our 8-week intensive summer program where they learn to garden, healthy eating, running a farmer's market, etc.


The work will focus on food justice (Camden is a food desert), environmental justice (CFET is located in a community surrounded by polluting industries), and providing low-income and minority youth job training, leadership development, and cooking skills and nutrition for promoting healthy eating.


The primary work will focus on helping our farmer in the gardens, orchard and with the bees (if interested).  The intern will also help in the preparation for the youth programming starting in July.  S/he will work with the youth (in the gardens, cooking in the kitchen, and the youth-run farmer’s market, taking pictures of the gardens and youth, possible posting on social media, and minimal office work related to the youth/farm summer programs).

Note: Because this intern will work with youth, the intern will need to have completed background checks before the start of the program  There will also be a CAP training required.  The intern will also need their own transportation.

Center for Environmental Transformation Website



The Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor (ADROP) was founded in 2004 by Jack Deegan, O.S.A.  Fr. Deegan brought leaders, service providers, and volunteers together to assess the needs of the poor in South Philadelphia and began to match those needs with known resources.  Since that time our 150 volunteers and leaders have affected the lives of over 1,000 families living in the South Philadelphia Area.


The work will focus on a number of social justice issues.  The focus can be tailored to suit the interest of the intern.  The ministries of ADROP mainly circle around immigration, mass incarceration, and access to health care.


The intern will have the opportunity to take on a number of administrative tasks around the office (mainly for the clinic) and prepare and post on social media accounts. As ADROP works with the Annunciation community, it might be helpful to have a student organize volunteers or ESL sessions. The most suitable intern is someone who is  particularly interested in one of our specific ministries, can handle administrative and social media tasks, and will be able to be flexible in taking on a project or finding a way that they could center their experience around their interests.

ADROP's Website



At CCATE, our internships, virtual and/or in person, center around the strengths, skills, and areas of interest of students who come to work with us. Two of the main requirements we have for our interns are motivation and initiative, especially in the current context of virtual communication and online operations.


Stated in CCATE's mission is the goal to "develop and empower the Latinx community through the promotion of culture, art, work training, and education" (CCATE, 2020).  CCATE is composed of and operated by the community that it aims to impact. Community insights and assets are valuable inputs for the organization as members are the masters and curators of creative solutions. They believe that the lack of hierarchical structure at CCATE enables everyone to be a leader. This is rooted in the understanding that every member of the organization has something to offer and is a valuable addition to the team.


For internships at CCATE, we have three areas of focus, each of which is supervised by a CCATE staff member. While interns will interact regularly with all CCATE staff, they will work most directly with the staff member assigned to their area.

Below are the three areas with examples of different projects and programs, as well as skills and/or interests associated with each. Important to note is that many activities, tasks and programs fall under more than one area of focus, so choosing one particular area does not exclude exposure to or work in the other areas. Related skills and interests associated with each area are not requisites, but skills we imagine students will further develop during their internships.

Communications and Outreach, supervised by Obed Arango

Examples of work in this area include:

  • Website (content development, website maintenance, content translation into Spanish)
  • Storytelling through social media (Monthly newsletter, blog, etc.)
  • High School Immigration podcast and media
  • Virtual fundraising

Related skills or interests:

  • Communication skills in Spanish, writing in Spanish a plus
  • Knowledge of platforms or technologies for extending outreach and communication
  • Film/video, media, journalism

Programs and Administration, supervised by Charlotte Stone

Examples of work in this area include:

  • Teaching a class or tutoring students
  • Tracking donations and sending donor letters
  • Researching and planning curriculum for a summer program


Related skills or interests:

  • Teaching or content development skills
  • Expertise in specific content areas
  • Working with youth and families

Research and Strategic Planning, supervised by Holly Link

Examples of work in this area include:

  • Administrative work related to strategic planning
  • Online research (reading and synthesizing existing research and participatory research methods)
  • Data collection and compilation

Related skills or interests:

  • Strong writing skills
  • Qualitative and community-based participatory research

CCATE’s Website


The House of Grace Catholic Worker is located in the East Kensington section of Philadelphia.  The Catholic Worker community offers hospitality along with medical attention at a free clinic, showers and other hygienic needs, and a community garden.


According to Pew Research, “In 2016 the poverty rate in Philadelphia was just under 26 percent.”  This internship allows a student a rare opportunity to walk alongside individuals who are in poverty.  Low wages, mental illness, physical illness, loneliness, drug abuse and despair are just some of the intersections the intern with the House of Grace Catholic Worker will experience.  This internship provides a wonderful opportunity for someone interested in health care, social work, or related fields to do so in a deeply rooted social justice environment.


The primary role of the intern at the House of Grace will be to work with at least three of the health clinics.  Clinics operate on Tuesdays from 9:15-2 and then from 4:15-7; Wednesdays from 9:15-12, Thursdays from 4:15-7, and Fridays from 11:15-2.  The role of the intern will be Patient intake, History taking, and possibly vital signs.  Flexibility and initiative are vital to this internship.  Often the intern will be needed helping with towels and toiletries by the showers or with set up and clean up of the clinic (helping with laundry, cleaning bathrooms, etc.)

Other needs with House of Grace are:

  • Resources: building/maintaining a comprehensive resource manual
  • Patient Accompaniment (possibly driving patients to appointments outside the clinic or taking them on a bus)
  • Patient Advocacy (especially with doctors offices or insurance)
  • Working in the garden
  • Maintenance (cleaning out the storage and other general needs)

This internship is one for students who are able to work independently and in a team, who are flexible, enthusiastic, and who are dedicated to the work and the needs of this community.

The Catholic Worker Website

For more information on the Catholic Worker Community, this article is helpful.

Students may propose another internship which would be reviewed for approval by the program coordinators. One to two spots in the PASJI program have been reserved for this purpose.

Any internship should provide the opportunity to do social justice work in the greater Philadelphia area.

To search for social justice internships, students may wish to consult Handshake and consider the suggested Peace and Justice search criteria.  

Tips on Searching on Handshake are found in this document

Students may then present a proposal for inclusion in the summer program with their own internship.