Recent Grad Wins Service Fellowship

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's no secret that Saint Joseph's University has a strong focus on service, continually shaping a student body that puts others first. Following commencement, SJU students often continue to serve others, carrying on the Jesuit ideals that are so deeply ingrained in them during their time on Hawk Hill. One local organization that rewards recent graduates for their commitment to helping others – Philly Fellows – awarded Timothy Atwood '08 a prestigious fellowship and a full-time position that will positively impact the city.

By pairing local nonprofit organizations with recent graduates for yearlong service projects, Philly Fellows helps young adults transition from college life into Philadelphia's vibrant community, enriching the city's various neighborhoods and strengthening local nonprofit agencies. Now in its third year, Philly Fellows chose Atwood – a sociology major originally from Vienna, Va. – as one of its 20 participants.

Each fellow is awarded free housing, a stipend for living expenses, health insurance and an education award upon completion of the program. As part of his fellowship, Atwood spends 35 hours a week as the youth program coordinator for After School Activities Partnerships, where he pairs local groups' volunteers with schools and recreation centers in Philadelphia to lead after-school programs.

"The program so far has been fantastic; it has provided insight into Philadelphia's non-profit sector, but has also served as a great transition from college to the 'real world,'" Atwood said. "The fellowship has allowed me to gain a wealth of experiences even within the first month."

Philly Fellows is designed to improve the city's service sector, and Atwood brings his own service background to the program. He participated in the Appalachian Experience during spring break of his sophomore year and returned as a student leader the following two years.

"The Appalachian Experience helped me to connect with the true Jesuit mission of St. Joe's to be men and women with and for others. Through the program I met many wonderful students who wanted to positively change things around them, and this helped shape my goals," Atwood reflected.

According to Matt Fullmer, immersion programs coordinator at SJU, "Tim is one of those well-rounded individuals who excels academically, but also gets involved in a lot of extra-curriculars, including service. He puts his whole heart and soul into everything he does."

--Sarah Whelehon '07

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