DeSales Service Works

Goal of Program

DSW offers opportunity for service alongside people in need in the heart of Camden, NJ. We host volunteers for Service Retreats (1-7 days), Summer Immersion (3 weeks), and for a Service Year (12 months). Simplicity of lifestyle, community, justice, and the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales are the four pillars of this ministry. Through our presence, and work with our neighbors, we highlight Salesian optimism, gentleness, and awareness of God in the struggling inner city neighborhoods where we serve. Especially in our Service Year program, we strive to form volunteers into justice-minded individuals who are able to identify and work toward changing areas of injustice in their world.

Type of Placement

DSW offers a wide variety of service placements including but not limited to: elementary education, at-risk youth ministry, university campus ministry, social services, pastoral care- parish and hospital based, homeless and elderly outreach and advocacy, legal office, and healthcare at a local medical clinic. We match volunteer interest and talent to needs in the community. Volunteers also have the opportunity to lead our high school, college and parish Service Retreats.

Service Area

Camden, New Jersey: downtown and Holy Name neighborhoods, close to Philadelphia.

Service Length

DSW hosts several hundred volunteers for Service Retreats each year (1-7 days). Summer Immersion is a three week service-learning immersion experience, about 12 interns join us each summer. Service Year Volunteers is a 12 month program starting with Orientation in August of each year. We also welcome volunteers to join us on their own time frame.

Program Size

Each year DSW hosts about 12 Summer Interns and 3-5 Service Year Volunteers. In the course of a single year, we also host over 1,000 Service Retreat volunteers who come to do short term service.


For the Service Year program, volunteers must be between 21-29 years or old and willing to live simply in a community focused on service, spirituality and enjoyment of life. Summer Immersion applicants are 18 years or older. A healthy sense of humor is an asset. Volunteers must be willing to bring Christian virtues and attitudes to pretty rough urban communities. The application process includes recommendations and a personal interview. Documents and priority deadline for applying can be found on our website.

Financial Arrangements

For Service Year volunteers, DSW provides room and board in our spacious old rectory, complete with comfortable living spaces and a chapel. Also included is health insurance and a modest stipend of $110/month for any personal needs. Transportation to and from work site may be provided.

Living Arrangements

The DSW house is a beautiful old rectory from a closed parish and serves as a warm home for our volunteers. Our neighborhood is poor and urban yet has a positive atmosphere especially because of the presence of these hope-filled endeavors.


There is orientation in August and three other retreats during the year (in D.C. and Cape May, NJ). Volunteers have regular formation and opportunity for spiritual direction. There is hands-on training at each work site.

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and deadlines are flexible, understanding that discernment can take time. February 15th, preliminary application due. March 15th, full application due with references.


Father Michael McCue, OSFS


522 State Street
Camden, NJ 08102
Phone: 215 582-1666


[email protected]


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Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Catholic

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