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What is 4Boston?

4Boston was established over 20 years ago for Boston College students to have the opportunity for weekly service at a local social service, health, or education placement. In recent years, 4Boston has been able to place more than 400 BC students who serve 4 hours each week in the city of Boston each year (though the commitment is only for one year, students are welcome to apply all four years while at BC). Volunteers then return to campus for one hour each week to reflect in small groups led by a 4Boston Council Member on their service, the issues present at their placements, and the relationships they cultivate throughout the year.


The Aim of 4Boston is Two Fold...

4Boston aims to provide Boston College students with a significant extended urban service experience, which is enriched by regular opportunities for reflection and analysis of the work in which they are engaging in order to practice the Jesuit ideal of being contemplatives in action.

4Boston also strives to provide reliable, consistent assistance to Boston area agencies, which work with and on behalf of the city's poor and marginalized.

Working among the poor, the ill, and the marginalized inevitably raises universal questions of life's meaning and purpose. While we rely on the Judeo-Christian tradition to address these and other issues, people of all faiths (and no specific religious affiliation) are welcome to participate in 4Boston.

It is our firm belief that action without reflection risks despair and reflection without action risks irrelevance, and it is our explicit hope that 4Boston students will grow intellectually, morally, and spiritually through regular service to others and disciplined reflection on that service.


The Three Pillars of 4Boston

4Boston stands on three pillars: Community, Spirituality, and Social Justice.

We aim to create a sense of community at our placements and among our small groups of volunteers (in service and reflection); we are committed to not only meeting immediate needs through service, but considering the policies and structures that create unjust conditions for those we serve and what we can do to resist and transform these unjust practices; in and through all of this, we seek to grow as spiritual beings, attentive to the ways that God is at work in our service and reflection, calling and empowering us to be Women and Men for Others in all times and places.


Structure of the Organization

4Boston is an organization of over 400 BC students who serve at various service placements throughout the city of Boston. Each placement is directed by a Council Person who acts as the reflection leader and volunteer coordinator for all volunteers at their respective placement. In addition to the student leaders, 4Boston is overseen by a campus minister and graduate assistant who work with the council and act as a resource for all volunteers.



Placements range from shelters and soup kitchens, adult tutoring and education, schools and afterschool programs, hospitals and special needs based placements in communities like: Allston, Brighton, Back Bay, Charlestown, Chinatown, Roxbury, South End, and Watertown.

Learn more about the 30+ placements



Although the mission of 4Boston remains unchanged, we dedicate each year to a particular theme that captures the spirit of what it means to be part of 4Boston.  The theme is announced at Commissioning, our first major event of the year.


View recent 4Boston themes