Every Providence Hall student will participate in a community service event called The Philia Project on Friday. Philia is one of the four Greek words for love. This service activity gives students the opportunity to show their love and appreciation for our community.
Providence Hall’s director of campus life, Becca Gill, leads the project. She appreciates the project’s connection to the school’s mission.
“The Philia Project offers us a platform to teach students the connection of community service to serving others because Jesus gave us the example to serve those in need,” she said. “We do this not to benefit ourselves, but to love others. Our hope is for the students to experience this day and have that connection click for them — and then to continue to pursue lives of service.”
With 90 Providence Hall students serving for at least four hours each, they will contribute approximately 360 hours of service to the Santa Barbara community in just one morning, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. They will serve a variety of local nonprofit organizations.
Among the projects:
» Alpha Resource Center — Provides support services to clients with developmental disabilities. Students will meet clients at a park for a barbecue and activities.
» Transition House — Provides housing and life-skill services to capable and motivated homeless families with children. Students will lend a hand with facility maintenance projects, including organizing the children’s library, updating computer system files, and cleaning.
» Garden Court — An independent living community for low-income seniors. Students will clean, perform yard care, and interact with seniors (serving lunch, games, Wii, painting nails).
» Storyteller Children’s Center — An early childhood education for homeless and at-risk children. Students will assist instructors, play outside with children, and help with food preparation and serving.
» Boys & Girls Club — An after-school program serving neighborhood youth. Providence Hall students will perform deep cleaning of tables, chairs, windows, and doors, wash vehicles and organize the art and game rooms.
» Museum of Natural History/Ty Warner Sea Center — Offers numerous marine exhibits and aquaria as a window on the Santa Barbara Channel. Students will perform facility maintenance and prepare for winter children’s camps.
» Five Loaves Farm — This 3-acre nonprofit farm on Santa Barbara Community Church property produces organic food for distribution to low-income families. Students will work in the garden and on the trail system.
» Isla Vista Youth Projects — Responds to Isla Vista community needs with programs for children and families. Students will participate in activities and programs with the children, emphasizing sharing musical talents and interests and also including reading, crafts, and gardening.
Garden Court’s Charlene Fletcher, director of resident services, shared her enthusiasm and appreciation for the Philia Project: “Besides the fact they [Providence Hall students] are nice kids and such hard workers, the social aspect for the residents alone is so valuable! One of their favorite things to do is visit with anyone new. One of our residents, ‘Myrtle,’ an 84-year-old woman, took a walk around the block last year with three boys. She still smiles as she frequently remembers ‘one of the best days of my life!’”
Besides spreading love in the community, this project allows students to show their love and support for their school, Providence Hall, which provides Christian faith-based college preparatory education for grades 7 to 12. Similar to a jog-a-thon, this event is a serve-a-thon. Sponsors, including friends, family members and local businesses, support the students’ efforts with donations.
In 2011, the Philia Project raised approximately $15,000 for tuition assistance to allow more students to attend Providence Hall. The goal is to meet or exceed that amount this year.
Sponsorship gifts may be sent to the school at 630 E. Canon Perdido, or made online by clicking here. Gifts are fully tax-deductible.
— Elaine Rottman is the director of advancement at Providence Hall.