Key Components

The St. Vincent de Paul Young Adult Center experience is formed around three key components: service, reflection, and education.

Through SERVICE, students are given the opportunity to meet and work with people that they would not typically encounter in their day to day life. We partner with a number of different service sites throughout the Germantown area of Philadelphia that serve various populations including: children, elderly, individuals with disabilities, individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals recovering from addiction, etc. At the center, we view service not as something we do for others, but with others. Service is a two-way evangelization process where we are given the opportunity to spend time with and learn from those living on the margins. We serve out of, and because of, our love and care of others.

  • Service, without reflection, is just work. Therefore, REFLECTION and PRAYER are vital parts of the experience here at the center. We desire to give students the chance to reflect inwardly how each person, service site, and educational activity impacts them. We strive to create a space where students can openly and honestly discuss these inward thoughts and feelings with one another, and work towards levels of greater compassion and desire to protect those most vulnerable
  • As St. Vincent said, “Give me persons of prayer and they will be capable of anything.” It is only through receiving from God in PRAYER, that we have the ability to truly give of ourselves, and to be open to receiving from the poor. Therefore we start each morning with a prayer. We encourage students to have a spirit of prayerfulness throughout the day, recognizing that being with the poor, amidst their suffering, is a holy place. Our prayer is from the Catholic perspective, but we aim to create prayers and a space that is relatable, inclusive and comfortable for people of all faiths, religions, and beliefs.

EDUCATION is key in making the experience at the center, transformative. While students are encountering people and situations they may have never encountered first hand before, we strive to give them the historical, political, and sociological context of these situations. Through educational activities each evening, we aim to deconstruct the false narratives and stereotypes around individuals experiencing poverty, and replace those with a deeper, more accurate look into the societal, social, and individual problems that create the cycle of poverty. Through our educational experiences paired with reflection, the center hopes to live out the following words and intention of St. Vincent de Paul: “Charity, without Justice, is not Charity.”