4Boston is BC's largest weekly service organization. Volunteers serve four hours each week of the academic year with community partners in the social service, healthcare, or education sectors and engage in one hour of group reflection centered on community, social justice, and spirituality.
What We Do
Build community with our partners and among our small groups of volunteers, through both engagement and reflection.
Consider the policies and structures that create unjust conditions for our neighbors, while seeking to understand our responsibility in resisting and transforming injustices we encounter in our world.
Grow as spiritual beings, attentive to the ways that God moves through our work and reflection.
4Boston Application Deadline
Friday, September 8th at 11:59 p.m. EST
Sunday, September 24th from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST
4Boston Retreat & Teach-In
Sunday, February 18th, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST
Sunday, April 29th, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. EST
4Boston provides students with a significant extended urban encounter, enriched by regular opportunities for reflection and analysis in keeping with the Jesuit tradition of contemplation-in-action.
4Boston also strives to provide reliable, consistent support to Boston-area agencies that work with and on behalf of the city's poor and marginalized.
This work 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 those of 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.
Three pillars guide the work of 4Boston: Community, Spirituality, and Social Justice. We aim to create a sense of community with our partners and among our small groups of volunteers, both in service and reflection. We are committed to not only meeting immediate needs through our engagement in the community, but considering the policies and structures that create unjust conditions and learning about our roles in resisting and transforming the injustices we encounter in our world. In and through all of this, we seek to grow as spiritual beings, attentive to the ways that God moves through our work and reflection, calling and empowering us to be Women and Men for Others, in all times and places.
"4Boston Goes Digital"
The Gavel, Fall 2020
"Thank you Boston College Volunteers"
Franciscan Children's, Spring 2018
"Serving the City"
Carroll School of Management Newsletter, June 2018
"25 Years of 4Boston"
The Chronicle, December 2016
“Learning a Lesson Behind Prison Walls”
The Heights, April 2016
“Bursting the BC Bubble: 4Boston”
The Gavel, September 2014
"Authentic Eagles: On Identity"
The Gavel, May 2014
“Unlikely Friendship Forms in Shelter Classroom”
The Boston Globe, May 2014
“Boston College 4Boston Partnership a Win/Win!”
Casserly House Newsletter, Spring 2014
“Authentic Eagles: On Spirituality”
The Gavel, February 2014
“Volunteering 4 Boston”
The Heights, September 1999
Through participation in 4Boston students will:
- Engage their communities beyond Boston College, through regular volunteering, civic advocacy, and professional discernment
- Cultivate regular spiritual practices and habits of discernment and reflection.
- Identify systemic pathways of injustice, consider their individual privileges and proximity to marginalized communities, and incorporate their daily understanding of these systems and experiences in daily choices.
What is the volunteer application process?
Interested students should attend an information session before applying online via the Campus Ministry website. Information sessions are typically held in late August and early September of each year and provide the chance to learn more about the various community partners and day-to-day experiences with 4Boston.
ALL participants, both new and returning, must complete an online application each fall. The application asks for basic personal information, brief short-answer responses (for new applicants only), and schedule availability. From there, applications are reviewed and students may or may not be invited to interview to be matched with a 4Boston community partner. Due to the high volume of applicants and matching process, students’ maximum reported schedule availability on their online application is the greatest predictor of a successful volunteer match.
What is the time commitment?
Participating in 4Boston is a significant, year-long commitment, from October to April. We ask all volunteers to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per-week. Additionally, we ask all participants to attend six mandatory program events throughout the year.
How do volunteers get to community partners?
4Boston relies heavily on the MBTA for transportation to and from community partners, and annually distributes Charlie Cards to volunteers. Most 4Boston volunteers use these cards to take the train or bus to their community partner. 4Boston also distributes a select number of Lyft codes each year, reserved exclusively for volunteers serving at sites that are difficult to access via MBTA. A few 4Boston partners are within walking distance from BC’s campus. Additionally, some students with access to a vehicle and parking may choose to drive themselves or carpool to their shift.
What do volunteers do?
4Boston’s community partners broadly span the categories of: Healthcare (i.e. Perkins School for the Blind), Social Service (i.e. St. Francis House), Education (i.e. EVKids).
Within these categories, however, the work of 4Boston varies widely, including a foot washing clinic, disability care and education, eldercare, preschool, adult education, prison education, after school mentoring, classroom support, shelters for adult men and women, and youth shelters.
Do I have to be Catholic to participate?
Our volunteer work and small group reflections raise universal questions of life's meaning and purpose. While 4Boston relies on the Judeo-Christian tradition and Ignatian Spirituality to address these and other issues, people of all faiths and those of no specific religious affiliation are welcome to participate in 4Boston.
What paperwork do volunteers need to fill out in order to participate?
Each 4Boston community partner requires a different set of intake forms before volunteers are able to start, including, but not limited to:
- Vaccination records
- Background checks
Once matched with a community partner, volunteers should confirm with their student leader what documents, if any, they need to submit. All volunteers must attend the 4Boston Commissioning in September—site-specific paperwork and orientations will be covered at this event.
What happens when my Charlie Card runs out?
Charlie Cards are distributed at the 4Boston Commissioning in September of each year.
If you need a replacement Charlie Card you can collect a new one during office hours from the 4Boston Student Office located in Carney 373.
To confirm 4Boston office hours, contact Joseph Citera
How do I get a 4Boston shirt?
Shirts will be available for cash purchase and online. Shirts can be purchased or picked up during 4Boston office hours. All volunteer shirt pre-orders will be distributed at the 4Boston Fall Retreat.
To confirm 4Boston office hours, contact Joseph Citera.
What if I have a conflict and can’t attend a volunteer shift or reflection?
We expect that 4Boston volunteers will not miss more than four (4) volunteer shifts or reflections per year or two (2) volunteer shifts or reflections each semester.
If a volunteer knows they will be late/absent to a volunteer shift, they must notify their Student Leader AND Volunteer Coordinator 48 hours before via email or text message.
If a volunteer knows they will be tardy/absent to a reflection, they must notify their Student Leader 24 hours before via email or text message.
If a volunteer is found to be missing more than the allotted number of shifts or reflections, they will be asked to meet with the Program Director to determine whether their priorities are aligned with the 4Boston’s goals; extenuating circumstances will be taken into consideration by the Program Director and Student Leaders during this discussion.
Who do I talk to if...?
- I need a letter of recommendation.
- I have a great idea for a new 4Boston partner.
- I have a great idea for a small group reflection.
- I have a great idea for a keynote speaker for a 4Boston event.
- I'd like to promote an event/fundraiser that's happening at my community partner site.
- There's been an incident at my volunteer shift or in my reflection.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Joseph Citera, Program Director
For general inquiries, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 4Boston Rolling Application has opened. Students may apply to join 4Boston and will be prompted to follow the directions in the application form to be matched to a service site.
All questions should be directed to the Program Director, Joe Citera and the 4B Graduate Assistant, Sean O'Rourke
Students are placed on a first come first serve basis according to mutual availability.
Apply for 4Boston
Please review the 4Boston Volunteer Guidelines prior to submitting your application.
With over 500 student participants and 30 partner organizations, 4Boston relies on an annual cohort of Student Leaders to lead reflection groups, coordinate volunteers, and support ongoing communication with community partners.
4Boston invites all rising sophomores, juniors and seniors to submit applications for Student Leader positions in March of each year for the following academic year. Click here to apply to lead 4Boston. Deadline is March 26, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. EST.
Important Dates for 2023 - 2024:
- Service-Immersion Leader Retreat: Sunday, August 27, 2023
- 4B Participant Selection: Sunday, September 10, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. EST
- 4Boston Leader Retreat: January 15, 2024
- 4B Retreat & Teach-In: Sunday, February 18, 2024
- Sending 4th: Sunday, April 29th, 2024
Thank you for considering a donation to 4Boston. Your tax-deductible donation is a valuable investment in a learning experience that many Boston College students will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
To Donate Online:
Visit the Online Giving Form
Enter your information; for the field "I wish to make my gift to:” select 4Boston. [If you are sponsoring a certain student, please select "In honor of a BC student," and include their name and year.]
Click "Submit Gift"
To Mail a Check:
Boston College, Office of Campus Ministry
McElroy Commons 233
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
If your corporation matches donations, please enclose the appropriate forms.
4Boston, under the umbrella of the Trustees of Boston College, is a non-profit 501(c)3 with a federal tax exemption number of 04-2103545.
Office Hours: 2023-2024
Our office hours are held in Carney 373. Feel free to walk-in or make an appointment
For general inquiries, email: email@example.com
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