Learn More About SSP in San Diego
San Diego Service Work
For the most part, we work on the homes in the communities we serve. The type of work includes building wheelchair ramps and porches, painting and other general home repairs. No construction experience is needed, and you’ll be amazed at all of the work that your youth teams complete! Most projects take longer to complete than your week at SSP so you may see the beginning, middle or end of a project.
We have hired Celeste Caton as a Border Coordinator to create a safe, strong, educational border program for our volunteers. Celeste served as a Global Mission Fellow through the United Methodist Church in Tijuana and is using her knowledge and connections to enhance our San Diego program.
San Diego’s 296 youth and 98 adult volunteers were the most of any SSP site in 2016! Together they completed 14 projects for homeowners and local nonprofits including a few churches:
- 1 brand new deck and 2 deck repairs
- 1 large set of stairs
- 1 floor replacement
- 1 fence
- 1 safety handrail
- Repainting a homeowner’s exterior as well as multiple painting projects at St. Mark’s City Heights and Wesley United Methodist Church in City Heights.
- 373 volunteer days serving with San Diego Canyonlands. Each person spends at least one day volunteering with SDC.
Residents in San Diego’s neighborhood of City Heights are encouraged to apply for services. Please note that it is not possible to complete all requested work due to time, budget and volunteer limitations.
In order to receive our services you must:
- Complete an application. If you would rather have a hard copy mailed to you, please call (916) 488-6441 or email Megan Walsh.
- Own your home
- We are unable to do any work within mobile home parks
- However, if you live in a mobile or modular home that is NOT within a park, you are welcome to apply for services.
Community Engagement in San Diego
In City Heights, we will be working with a variety of nonprofit organizations doing everything from home repair to canyonland cleanup. The focus for the summer will be the global community.
We chose this focus for two reasons. One is that San Diego County has the highest percentage of refugees in the United States, people fleeing war and political violence in their home countries. Many refugees from Burma, Somalia, Sudan and Iraq live in City Heights.
The second reason is that San Diego is the northern half of the largest trans-border or trans-national metropolitan area in the United States. On Wednesday, all participants will participate in a border experience on either the San Diego or Tijuana side of the border. To take part in the Tijuana visit, participants must bring a valid passport or passport card, a photocopy of the passport or card, and signed permission from both parents or legal guardians.
Both groups will meet at Friendship Park on their respective sides of the border to have a shared experience of what it feels like to be separated from friends and loved ones across the border. They will hear from multiple people living and working in the border areas including a Pastor from the Mexico Methodist Church who will lead the group in a binational devotion and communion service. After that, they will spend the day doing different exciting activities.
The group in Tijuana will drive to the border and cross on foot led by SSP staff. They will be met and guided by bilingual United Methodist Mission Volunteers. After meeting the San Diego group at Friendship Park, the group will eat lunch with whomever is staying at a shelter for deportees and migrants with ample time to hear stories. Volunteers will also be visiting and learning from individuals at Madres soñadoras Internacional, Deported Veterans Support House, and the Salvation Army in Tijuana before returning to the border to cross back to the US.
The group in San Diego will hike 1.9 miles (about 30-45 minutes) on flat ground and sandy beach to Friendship Park where they will meet with the group in Mexico. From there, the group will eat lunch and travel to a social service agencies such as Southwest Key Programs and Casa Familiar. Volunteers will interact with various people affected by immigration which could include children who immigrated to the US without their parents. Interaction may include things like tutoring children, games and sports, gardening, or a community project.
Last summer, every volunteer in San Diego spent one day working for the San Diego Canyonlands. Spread out over eleven different urban canyon sites, this contribution of over 1500 service hours will have a lasting benefit for the underserved community of City Heights. Projects in five urban canyons included improvements to the park trail system and the restoration of San Diego’s unique endangered, wildlife habitats.
First United Methodist Church of San Diego
Volunteers will be housed at long-time SSP church First United Methodist Church of San Diego. Volunteers will eat, sleep, do program and hang-out at the church when we are not working or visiting sites in the city. There will be off-site showers at various locations.
Send letters and care packages to youth, counselors, and even staff! Please only mail through USPS.
First & Last Name
Sierra Service Project
First United Methodist Church
2111 Camino del Rio S.
San Diego, CA 92108
Emergency Phone Number
To reach the San Diego site in case of emergency, or if you are a liaison for your group call:
Follow on Instagram @SSPsandiego17
Combined Middle and High School Sessions
The fee for combined sessions in San Diego is $365 per youth and adult volunteer.
- Week 1: July 2 – July 8
- Week 2: July 9 – July 15
Middle School Session
The fee for middle school sessions in San Diego is $335 per youth and adult volunteer.
- Week 3: July 16 – July 21
High School Sessions
The fee for high school sessions in San Diego is $365 per youth and adult volunteer.
- Week 4: July 23 – July 29
- Week 5: July 30 – August 5
- Week 6: August 6 – August 12
The average high during the summer is 75°F and low is 65°F.
Directions to First United Methodist Church of San Diego
To get to San Diego, consult Google maps or a similar mapping service to find the best route for your group.
First United Methodist Church of San Diego
2111 Camino del Rio South
San Diego, CA 92108
San Diego Preparation Packet
There is a special San Diego Preparation Packet for all youth and adult volunteers. Please download and bring these forms with you to site.
San Diego Study Guide
Download the detailed SSP San Diego Study Guide to help your group learn about the community and get more out of your SSP experience. We suggest that you download the study guide, share with your group and discuss the materials during a planning meeting.
- Building Healthy Communities: City Heights, San Diego
2017 Staff in San Diego
Each site location is staffed by team of mature young adults. They are trained and present at the site for the entire summer, working with the community to provide quality service opportunities.