Austin Scholars serve at several local organizations surrounding the college. Scholars have the opportunity to choose their service site from an approved list. The service is varied so that students can have a broad range of experiences.

Hands to Help

Organization Description: 

Merrimack College’s hands to help in collaborations with St. Mary’s Parish in Lawrence includes drop-in center that provides after school tutoring, tax assistance, general form assistance, and more. Each weekday Hands to Help has approximately 25 children visit for homework help and after school activities. Hands to Help provides one-on-one or small group tutoring for children in 1ist through 8th grade in all subjects. Additionally, Hands to Help acts an information referral site to other local non-profits and offers resources, such as computers, for public use.

Blessed Stephen Bellesini Academy

Organization Description:

Bellesini Academy is an independent, tuition-free Catholic middle school providing quality scholarship education to deserving boys and girls in grades five through eight in Lawrence. Bellesini Academy is dedicated to providing a quality scholarship education to students from limited financial means living in Lawrence. The mission of the school is to provide an academically challenging and highly structured environment that develops potential for each student’s to succeed in competitive secondary schools and colleges. The Academy is named in honor of Stephan Bellesini, a 19th century Augustine friar who dedicated many years to the education of young boys from disadvantaged families in Italy. His school was known as la scola por gnet, or “The School for Nothing.” because it was tuition free.

Catholic Charities

Organization Description:

Helps nearly 30,000 people in need from Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill and surrounding communities annually through a wide range of services. The programs at Merrimack Valley Catholic Charities strive to prevent hunger and homelessness for local families in a financial emergency; engage young parents through skill building and education; provide elders support as they raise their grandchildren; and support families in their effort to build safe, nurturing environments as they follow their own path back to self sufficiency.  

Scholar’s Story:

“I go to the Catholic Charities Young Parent Program. I teach young women from the ages of 16-23 in order for them to recieve their GED. I teach them reading, writing, math, and social studies. All of the women I work with are absolutely amazing. They all have so much courage and determination for coming back to school and wanting to better themselves and their lives. Not only do they do this for themselves but they do this so that their children can live better lives as well. I could not picture myself going to any other service site. The women I work with have taught me so many valuable life lessons, and they have all helped me.”  –Megan

Lawrence Catholic Academy

Organization Description:

A Nursery through Grade 8 Elementary School located in Lawrence, Massachusetts. It offers a motivating and full-bodied curriculum, enlightened by catholic teaching and offers all students an excellent education in faith filled and supportive environment Lawrence Catholic Academy offers the unique mission and the superb academic, human, and spiritual formation of a Catholic School education, and thrive professionally and personally as adults. Lawrence Catholics Academy offers to children agr three through grade eight a challenging academic program and process of spiritual-human foundation that enables students to realize their God-given potential. 

Scholar’s Story:

“I volunteered at Lawrence Catholic Academy and it was a very different experience. I am familiar with working with children from my past experiences but children at LCA were unlike any of my past experience, children at LCA were nice and friendly with a mix of loudness and hyperactivity. Being in Lawrence help me see that are places close to me that children are not getting the best education and I have to do something about it.”  –Tom Ho

Mary Immaculate

Organization Description:

Mary Immaculate Health/Care Services is a community of care for older adults. The program includes

  • Independent Housing
  • 3 adult day programs for seniors living in the community who need additional support assisted living
  • A short term rehab program
  • Dedicated Memory Care Unit
  • Skilled nursing facility

In total there can be close to 600 elderly being cared for during the course of the day

Scholar’s Story:

“This is my Second year working at Mary Immaculate and it is still so surprising and heartwarming the relationships that are formed. The amount of stories i’ve heard and the connections i’ve been able to make are ones that I will never forget. I get the opportunity to do activities with the residents such as bingo, arts and crafts, nail painting, ect. During this time I get to meet and re connected with residents and get to know them and their life. It will always put a smile on my face when I walk back into the building and i’m greeted by people who know my name and are genuinely happy to see me. The days when we come and volunteer are really special to the residents and you can tell how much our work there brightens their day.”  –Gabby Griffiths

Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School

Organization Description:

Located in Lawrence MA, Notre Dame Cristo Rey High school provides a catholic, affordable, culturally sensitive, college preparatory education enhanced by professional work experience for young men and women from families with limited income. NDCR is a member of the Cristo Rey Network which bills themselves as “schools that work.” The Bedrock of Cristo Rey model high school’s Corporate Work Study Program which places students into entry level clerical positions and generates much need revenue for school. At full enrollment ,Cristo Rey Network high schools are able to cover nearly 80% of their operating expenses through work program and a modest tuition.

Notre Dame Education Center

Organization Description:

Educates low income adults and empower them to improve their lives and those of their families. The mission is to:

  • Promote a quality of life through education
  • Collaborate with people in the community to facilitate improved services to immigrants in the area
  • Generate a spirit of welcome and respect for the dignity of each person
  • Provide for the development of self esteem and literacy that will support employment opportunities, a better family life and participation within a community
  • Develop a diverse and integrated educational programs including: English for speakers of other languages, computer literacy, distance learning in English, Certified Nursing Assistant & Home Health Aid occupational training and preparation for the citizenship test and interview
Scholar’s Story:

“I am entering my second year at the Notre Dame Education Center. Last year, I tutored English to adults who have immigrated to this America from various Latin American countries for 20 minute-sessions and meet with 5 groups per visit.  This year, I am helping one student study for the US citizenship test for an hour and 15 minutes and then meeting with 2 groups, like how I did last year. At the NDEC, I have acquired many experiences that I will always remember during my journey through college and into finding a career. The students I work with are extremely hardworking and inspire me to always do my best in my own academics.  I just as much from them as they do from me.”  –Denis

St. Louis School

Organization Description:

St. Louis School, founded in 1907 by the sisters of the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary has a rich history in the city of Lowell. These Sisters provided an education for the children of French immigrants as they settled in a new land. Today, St. Louis school educated student’s many cultures and is committed, as stated in it’s mission statement to the spiritual, intellectual, social, psychological, and physical growth of each child through the practice of Catholic values academic excellence and responsible citizenship.

Scholar’s Story:

“Last year I volunteered at St, Louis School for my service site. Wanting to be a teacher once I graduate this was the best experience I could have asked for. The teacher that I worked with was amazing not only did she give me tips on what and what not do when I have my own classroom, she  gave me a job, where she would put my name on their everyday schedule. The environment at St, Louis School was so welcoming from the moment you stepped into the principal’s office to the moment you left the classroom. The teachers were all very nice to me and the students all adored me especially during recess when we could focus on anything but school work.”  –Sudha