Our Artworks! program coordinators recruit volunteers at the CommServ Fair!

CommServ is a network of 16 programs that reach into the local community to meet a variety of needs on a regular basis. These groups build and maintain strong community partnerships through sustained interactions. The coordinators of each program meet weekly for reflection, training and leadership development as they seek to understand the complexity of community needs and services. The volunteers meet regularly with their coordinators and volunteer weekly with their community partners. Two student staff members help coordinate the 32 student leaders that run the weekly CommServ groups.

Learn more about the weekly CommServ groups below! 

CommServ Volunteers

Volunteers are the backbone of the community service that occurs in our community. In 2017-18, over 150 students participated in a CommServ weekly community service group! To participate in CommServ, all volunteers must:

  • Commit to volunteer for at least one semester at least once a week within the program
  • Participate in training for the specific group
  • Complete the required volunteer background clearances (Volunteer Clearance Instructions)

CommServ Coordinators

Each CommServ group has two student coordinators that organize volunteers, meet with the community partner and participate in leadership training. Coordinators meet on Monday nights from 5-6 pm during each academic semester. As a Coordinator, one will:

  • Increase individual understanding of community needs and issues through education and dialogue
  • Engage in self-reflection, generating an understanding of one's self, one's position and privilege, and how that affect one's responsibility and work within the community
  • Increase professional skills including communication, organization, management and program development
  • Reflect on local community partners by exploring the connection between academic work and possible vocations.

CommServ Programs

CommServ is comprised of individual programs that work with specific community partners and depend on volunteers for their success. Volunteers tutor kids, design art, visit with senior citizens, build houses and so much more! 

If you are interested in any program, please email the program directly or contact the 2018-19 student coordinators (Yuer Zhang '19 and Aly Fosbury '21) at commserv@dickinson.edu. If it is summer, please contact csss@dickinson.edu.

America Reads
America Reads is a program that places Dickinson College students in a Carlisle elementary school to tutor young students in literacy. This federally funded program is part of the national initiative to ensure reading ability in children by age eight. Mentors help student gain necessary literary skills by reading stories, listening to students read and fostering a love for reading. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: amreads@dickinson.edu.

Where: LeTort Elementary School
When: Volunteers can choose to go any time Monday-Friday from 1:00 to 3:00pm

This program provides a unique opportunity for local middle school youth to create and learn about various forms of art. Volunteers work with students over the course of 8 weeks to encourage imagination and artistic skill in this afterschool program. Through generous donations, there is no charge to the youth in this program. Dickinson students work with students on art projects, mentor students and assist with events put on by the program. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: artworks@dickinson.edu.

Where: Carlisle Arts and Learning Center (CALC)
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:15pm to 5:30pm

The American Sign Language (ASL) program works with the Dickinson College Children Center to allow volunteers to teach basics of the language to their kindergartners. The program aims to increase awareness of Deaf culture while allowing safe space on campus for signers. No previous experience of sign is necessary as the coordinators will lead in teaching volunteers. Dickinson College students will spend one hour learning ASL one week in preparation for teaching during the following week. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: asl@dickinson.edu.

Where: Althouse 109
When: Sundays 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Big Little (Big Brother Big Sister)
Big Little is a mentoring program that works closely with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region. Members are paired with a "little," a local elementary-aged student. "Bigs" visit with their little once a week at the little's school during lunch or recess hours. Group activities are organized monthly and there are bi-weekly big meetings to share stories, progress and problems. This program is an excellent way to form lasting relationships with local youth and to get involved in the community. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: big@dickinson.edu.

Where: Mooreland Elementary School
When: Volunteers schedule meetings that work best with their little's schedule as well as their own. These are typically during the lunch and recess hours of the school day. Mentor meetings are bi-monthly on Wednesday evenings.

The CARES program provides an afterschool opportunity for ESL elementary students to receive homework help and to have fun. Dickinson volunteers provide an environment that promotes emotional, social and educational success to these elementary school students. Mentors help teach children daily responsibilities and lifelong skills, as well as participate in a series of fun activities and events to promote bonding. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: cares@dickinson.edu.

Where: Allison Hall
When: Wednesdays from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.

Carlisle Tutoring Program
Volunteers  in the program tutor local youth across the Carlisle community. Volunteers can choose to assist in homework help and review sessions for any subject and grade level. Volunteers are then paired through the guidance counselors of the Carlisle School District and other community agencies. Multiple tutoring opportunities and styles are available at multiple Carlisle locations. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: ctp@dickinson.edu.

Where: Wilson Middle School or the YWCA.
When: Tuesdays 2:35pm to 3:30pm and Monday-Thursday 3:30pm to 4:45 pm. One on one tutoring is also available.

Composed is a program that strives to instill a long-lasting passion for music-making in youth by giving them the opportunity to create their own songs. Volunteers work with elementary school students once a week to teach them basic instrument skills and composition skills. Training is available for new volunteers. Volunteers may also assist with lesson planning, social media, and/or creating a newsletter. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: composed@dickinson.edu.

Where and When: LeTort Elemtary School Mondays 3:30-4:30; YWCA Tuesdays 4:30-5:30

Dickinson Friends
Dickinson Friends is a mentoring program that pairs volunteers with youth with special needs (both physical and mental) from the Carlisle community. Dickinson volunteers meet bi-weekly with their buddy as well as participate in monthly group events for volunteers and youth. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: dsonfriends@dickinson.edu.

Where and When: Volunteers schedule bi-weekly one on ones with their buddies in a location of their choosing (either on or off campus). Dickinson Friends also host monthly group events on campus or with transportation provided.

Dream Catchers
The Dream Catchers program provides an afterschool opportunity for ESL middle school students to receive homework help and have fun. Dickinson volunteers provide an environment that promotes emotional, social and educational success to these elementary school students. Mentors help teach children daily responsibilities and lifelong skills, as well as participate in a series of fun activities and events to promote bonding. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: dream@dickinson.edu.

Where: Allison Hall 
When: Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00pm to 5:00pm. 

The ESL (English as a Second Language) program pairs student volunteers with language partners from the U.S. Army War College for conversation to enhance English skills and cultural exchange. These language partners are typically adult spouses of visiting officers who would like to improve their English while living in the US for the year. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: esl@dickinson.edu.

Where and When: Volunteers coordinate a time and place to meet weekly with their language partner.

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity aims to build simple, decent and affordable not-for-profit homes in partnership with low-income families. At Dickinson, Habitat volunteers seek to eliminate poverty and homelessness through the building and rehabilitation of homes in the Carlisle, Newville and Harrisburg neighborhoods. In doing so, volunteers assist these families in acquiring greater self-worth, economic health and positive community relations. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: habitat@dickinson.edu.

Where and When: Habitat typically has a monthly oncampus meeting to discuss fundraising activities and to plan logistics for the days on the work site. Work sites vary based on the project but typically occur on Saturdays throughout the year. 

Keep Hope 
Hope Station offers a number of regularly scheduled community-building events such as Kids' Café and Youth Growth Activity (YOGA). The Keep Hope program provides volunteers to help with these after school activities for students in 6th-12th grades. Currently, the YOGA program offers "Keep Hope Garden & Café” to help teach youth about food justice and nutrition through cooking. This program was founded by Dickinson student Legacy Watkins ‘18. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: keephope@dickinson.edu.

Where: Hope Station
When: Hope Station Kids Cafe, Monday through Friday 1-4:30pm; YOGA/Keep Hope Garden and Cafe, Thursday 3:30-6:30pm

Newcomers to Neighbors - NEW
This program was adapted from Justice Is Served refugee project. Newcomers to Neighbors will partner with the Pennsylvania Center for Refugees and Immigrants to assist in tutoring for citizenship tests. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact newcomers2neighbors@dickinson.edu

Where: TBD
When: TBD 

Prison Inmate Tutoring
The PIT program allows volunteers to tutor inmates who are seeking their GED. Working closely with the prison and its guidelines, students will spend one hour weekly with an inmate to advance their educational skills. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: pit@dickinson.edu.

Where: Cumberland County Prison
When: Monday and Friday 6:30-8pm

Salvation Army Youth Program 
The Salvation Army Youth Program is a program for girls and boys similar to the Scouts programs. More information coming soon! If you are interested please contact, salvationarmyyouth@dickinson.edu

Where: Salvation Army
When: TBD

Senior Companions
Volunteers work to provide friendship and conversation to the residents of Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Students play games, organize events and get to know the residents. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact: seniorcomp@dickinson.edu.

Where: Claremont Nursing Home
When: Volunteers, typically in groups, will self-schedule a weekly visit to the center.