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Community Served by Incoming Georgetown Students

FOCI Preview Photo

Students in last year's First-Year Orientation to Community Involvement (FOCI) program help mulch the playground at St. Anne's Infant and Maternity Center. FOCI 2011 participants will volunteer Aug. 22-27.

August 19, 2011 – Fifty-four incoming students will spend the week before classes getting familiar with and attending to social justice issues and needs in Washington, D.C., through the First-Year Orientation to Community Involvement (FOCI) program.

FOCI, a program in Georgetown’s Center for Social Justice, Research, Teaching and Service (CSJ), introduces first-year and transfer students to Georgetown’s mission of educating “men and women for others” through community service, activism and reflection in the D.C. community.

Social Justice Immersion

“What we hope to do is offer the students a chance to get to know the city they will live in by immersing them in a social justice community,” says Raymond Shiu, CSJ program director for student leadership and special programs.

Among the service projects the students will participate in Aug. 22-27 are working with senior citizens through the Elder Buddies nonprofit branch of the AARP, and helping beautify local schools such as KIPP DC charter school and Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy.

“We try to be a breadth program, and our hope is that they’ll continue to do community service and social justice work throughout their academic careers here,” Shiu says.

About 180 of Georgetown’s first-year students applied for the pre-orientation program. The 54 selected represent 24 states – with two from the Washington, D.C. area – and a wide range of cultural and service-oriented backgrounds.

Similar Interests

“One participant started her own nonprofit,” Shiu notes, “while there are other students who have never done community service.”

Kendell Ciesemier (C’15) of Wheaton, Ill., says she’s looking forward to meeting her fellow FOCI participants.

“I’m excited about meeting other students with the same interests as me,” says Ciesemier, who started the nonprofit Kids Caring 4 Kids when she was 11.

The organization raises money and awareness for highly vulnerable children in Africa while working to inspire kids in the U.S. to care for those in need.

She says FOCI represents her impression of the university.

“The Jesuit mission of being women and men for others really resonates,” she says. “I feel like I fit here.”

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