Community Engagement Collaborative - Princeton Theological Seminary

Community Engagement Collaborative

Princeton Seminary, through the Community Action Network, an innovative social justice effort of the Urban Ministry Initiatives, is actively developing sustainable community engagement efforts whereby our first-year students can interact, learn, and invest time and energy in matters of social justice and equity issues. The Community Engagement Collaborative (CEC) is an effort to provide first-year students with a comprehensive experience during a span of eight to 10 weeks in the fall semester at a host site.

Students working on a project(s) will arrive at a designated time as a group or cohort of two to the site either once or twice a week for a total of five to 10 hours per week. Students will be under the supervision of the site’s employees and responsible for adhering to the rules and regulations of the volunteer site. A cohort of up to 20 first-year students will be in our federal work-study program where they will also participate in theological and practical reflection gatherings at Princeton Seminary or at sites in Trenton throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Host Sites for Academic Year 2019-2020

For nearly four decades, Mercer County families have turned to Arm In Arm for essential resources like food and financial support. Formerly known as The Crisis Ministry, Arm in Arm was founded in 1980 by leaders of Nassau Presbyterian Church and Trinity Church in Princeton to help community members who were struggling financially. Today 20 staff members and hundreds of volunteers welcome more than 4,000 families to our food pantries, work with 600 at-risk families to prevent or end homelessness, and offer on-the-job training and job search mentoring.

As a Quaker-affiliated, nonsectarian 501(c)(3) organization, Mercer Street Friends honors the equality of all people and strives for a just, prosperous, and peaceful society for all. They respond to the needs of the community to build alliances that will have the most meaningful impact in addressing issues of poverty. Mercer Street Friends provide a range of integrated services that build community, nurture self-worth and independence, and offer resources for children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and its lasting effects.

The City Rescue Mission was founded in 1915 by Mr. and Mrs. William Anderson at a time when rescue missions were springing up in urban areas throughout the United States as evangelical Christians sought to bring the Gospel to growing urban centers. While ministering to the spiritual needs of the homeless, it became painfully clear that there were also many material needs the mission had to address. In response, the board decided to purchase beds and provide more meal accommodations so that these men could be housed for weeks at a time until they were able to get back on their feet. It is recorded that as early as 1918, the Rescue Mission was a place of “refuge” for over 100 people per night.

HomeWorks Trenton is a community-based, after-school boarding program providing academic and social-emotional enrichment activities to supplement the public school system, to empower women, and to build community leaders.

The Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) is a community-based, grassroots, nonprofit organization incorporated in August 2004, classified as a public charity exempt from federal income tax under IRS section 501(c)(3), and registered with the New Jersey Directory of Charities (#CH2720800). It grew out of a Princeton community-based coalition known as the Latin American Task Force which had been helping the Princeton Latino community in various ways for well over a decade.

Urban Promise Trenton was launched in July 2011 under the leadership of Carl Clark, Jr., one of the first camp kids of Urban Promise in Camden in 1988. UP Trenton works to develop Christian leaders who will transform the city of Trenton by providing free after-school and summer camp programs, preparing disadvantaged inner-city children for the real world through spiritual, personal, physical, and educational development.


  1. First-year students at Princeton Seminary
  2. Engage and partner with a host site for up to 10 weeks during the fall semester
  3. Fulfill responsibilities at the host site from five to 10 hours per week, negotiable with the host site
  4. Participate in bi-weekly theological/praxis reflection for one hour each session
  5. In the spring semester, consider the creation of a social justice effort with the Community Action Network

If you are interested in this initiative, please complete the following application or contact [email protected].