Follow Her to Rosie’s Place

Last year, as a sophomore in college, I began to look for volunteer opportunities in the Boston area both to supplement my time here at school and also to fulfill a service requirement for an organization I am in. I had been on service trips through Emmanuel’s Mission and Ministry office and through other commitments I have at Emmanuel before, but I wanted to find a place that I could volunteer at regularly. A year and a half later, and I am on my third semester volunteering at Rosie’s Place, which after being founded in 1974, is the first women’s shelter in America. They provide meals shelter, education, programs and housing service for thousands of women a year and volunteers provide more than 60,000 hours of service per year.

Rosie’s Place first caught my attention because of how easy and convenient it is to sign up to volunteer there. The application to volunteer is on their website. When you are officially registered to volunteer there, you are able to sign up for shifts online. This simple process is perfect for college students because it takes only a little time out of a busy schedule to log on and pick times. You are also able to remove yourself from a shift 24 hours in advance if a conflict arises. Another plus about Rosie’s Place is its location. Located at 889 Harrison Ave, Boston, it is about a 30-40 minute walk away from Fenway schools and is also accessible by public transportation. Because I often do early shifts and have to get to class immediately after, I usually have to Uber to and from there and it is typically on the inexpensive side.

A picture of the outside of Rosie’s Place. Photo courtesy of Chapman Construction.

There are a variety of activities and times that people can volunteer here, but I always serve during their breakfast shifts. These go from 7am-9am and include setting up for breakfast, serving guests, and cleaning up at the end. Although these may seem like simple tasks and the fact that sometimes it’s very hard to wake up at six am, my best mornings are the ones I start by going to Rosie’s Place. Not only does it get me up and ready early in the morning, each shift allows me to meet new people and learn from the guests, employees, and fellow volunteers, all from different walks of life. We all gather together in this unique place to enjoy serving or eating meals together. The appreciation coming from the guests and getting to know their personalities and  stories over time is extremely rewarding and has shown me many perspectives and experiences different from my own. I think college students in major cities often find themselves stuck in a bubble where they only interact with people with a similar student status, background, or financial state as them, rather than being exposed to the racial, social and economic diversity that is in their community. Thanks to places like Rosie’s Place, students have the opportunity to step out of what is familiar to them and gain a broader understanding of the people around them.

If you are interested in volunteering at Rosie’s Place, you can find out more at