The Summer Service Partnership (SSP) is a health program that facilitates student volunteerism, guided exploration, and immersion in community health on the South Side of Chicago. It was launched in 2009 as a way to connect rising second year medical students with local high school students from South Side communities.
In 2010, the program model expanded to include University of Chicago graduate and undergraduate students. Together, program participants worked with community organizations and government/non-profit leaders in each of the partner neighborhoods: Greater Grand Crossing, South Chicago, and Woodlawn.
SSP continued to build relationships in these communities and also began serving the neighborhood of Washington Park in 2015.
Over the years, the Summer Service Partnership has evolved to provide a summer of intense community engagement for students of all ages, learning from each other. Inter-professional “Mentor” teams of medical, professional and undergraduate students from the University of Chicago partner with high school Youth Leaders from Chicago’s South Side to promote community health. They form teams in four neighborhoods–Greater Grand Crossing, South Chicago, Washington Park, and Woodlawn–to learn firsthand about the social determinants of health, map neighborhood assets, volunteer with community organizations, and complete a community health service project on a topic chosen by the Youth Leaders. At the end of the summer, the teams share their projects in a public presentation to each other, friends, family, community members, and supporters from the University of Chicago.
The mission of the Summer Service Partnership (SSP) program is to develop the next generation of leaders in community health.