Sycamore House Service Corps
Since 2005, the Sycamore House has been home to just under seventy corps members committed to social change in Harrisburg, PA. Following in the footsteps of the tax-collector Zacchaeus, Sycamore House Service Corps Members seek to live faithfully through service, action, and reflection.
The Sycamore House is located in the historic Bigler Mansion (former home of Governor Bigler) in downtown Harrisburg, PA, and overlooks the beautiful Susquehanna River. Harrisburg is less than 30 minutes from the Appalachian Trail, an hour from Baltimore, and two hours from DC, Philadelphia, and NYC. Corps Members can make a big impact in this community.
The Sycamore House Service Corps service year starts in mid-August and ends the following July. Many alumni remain in Harrisburg after their year of service to continue the work of strengthening our city.
Sycamore House corps members serve in site placements at partner organizations throughout Harrisburg. Corps Members this year aid in preschool and kindergarten classrooms and tutor older students at Joshua Group, lead volunteers in construction projects at Habitat for Humanity, teach at Capital Area Head Start, mentor student fellows at the Center for Public Humanities at Messiah College, coordinate volunteers at CONTACT Helpline, and advance fund development projects at Feeding Pennsylvania.
Other areas of service include: (1) The House – working together to build a functional community. (2) St. Stephen’s Cathedral – providing leadership in activities like youth action, education, choir, service projects, property, and community organizing. (3) The Neighborhood – hosting regular community dinners for anyone who wants to attend.
- Volunteer 30-35 hours per week at a site placement.
- Participate in weekly team meetings with the Director.
- Receive housing, utilities, a food stipend, and health insurance (if needed).
- Earn a monthly stipend for personal expenses.
A Day in the Life of a Corps Member (Grace Sinopoli, 2016-2017)
- 7:00 am: Wake up, get dressed and ready for the day.
- 7:30 am: Head to the kitchen to grab some breakfast and pack my lunch if I haven’t already. I say good morning to my housemates (/fellow corps members) who are doing the same, and we chat about our days (depending on how awake we are).
- 8:00 am: Leave for work. Sarah and I carpool to our offices, which are close to each other about 10-15 minutes away from the Sycamore House, and I always enjoy the time together on our way to and from work. Other corps members drive on their own, or take public transit options.
- 8:30 am: Arrive at the Feeding Pennsylvania office and plan out my tasks for the day. These include: responding to emails and writing blog posts, events in the community with my supervisor, and calls or meetings with Food Banks and other organizations. I take breaks here and there to talk with co-workers or go for my daily mid-day walk outside. It’s great to know that whatever each day entails, it’s with the mission of fighting hunger in Pennsylvania.
- 4:30 pm: Sarah picks me up after we both finish work, and we head back to the Sycamore House. As with the schedules, each corps member has a different work environment and type of service they are doing, so I love getting home and hearing about everyone’s days.
- 5:30 pm: After work, I love to go for a walk or run along the river, or go work out at the YMCA a few blocks away. Others might be found doing the same, or doing whatever they like to do in our neighborhood!
- 7:00 pm: Depending on the day of the week, we might have our weekly house dinner and meeting together, our community dinner that we host (welcoming anyone from the community), one-on-one meetings with Heather, or no specific plans. We often tend to congregate in the dining or living room, naturally flocking together for some silly or serious conversation. We all have our own rooms this year, so anyone who needs to is also able to have some introverted time in the evenings.
- 9:00 pm: If we have something like community dinner or a house meeting going on, we’re usually finished for the evening by about 9, leaving plenty of time to relax and rest. The next morning, it’s time for another great day as a Sycamore House corps member!
Want to know more? Get in touch: Heather@ststep.org