JEP is a service-learning program, which means that most of our volunteer opportunities are connected to classroom learning and that all programs have an educational component.

JEP currently partners with 50+ organizations in Los Angeles, most of which are near the USC University Park campus, to create hands-on experiences for students. Our peer education model incorporates reflective practice to help students to deepen their understanding of course content and develop skills.

Sign-ups are at the JEP House during the first two weeks of the fall and spring semesters – please scroll down to find more information and different resources to support you on your journey!

JEP Requirements

Most JEP assignments require:

  • 2 hours of service per week
  • 8 weeks of service, beginning the sixth week of the semester
  • Weekly assignments (reflective essays, group discussions, etc.)
  • Attendance at pre-service training(s) the 4th week of the semester
  • A University background check is required for all USC students who are working with minors.

    Students who have not completed a LiveScan screening including fingerprinting must undergo this process to participate in JEP.

    More information about this process can be found at: 

    USC Live Scan Process – Quick Reference

    Office of Youth Protection and Programming

    *Additional questions can be directed to:

    USC’s Human Resources background@usc.edu, 213.821.8000

  • JEP sites require volunteers to have a current, negative tuberculosis (TB) test. TB tests results must be recent. You can find the exact date after which the TB test must have been administered, as well as dates to renew your TB testing free of cost, on the sign-up page.

    USC Engemann does not provide a printed copy of your TB result: you can print a copy from the USC Student Health Center website MySHR.

Protecting Minors

JEP is committed to promoting the welfare of all who work with our programs, including children (minors under the age of 18) who live in our community or are served by our partners. All USC students must abide by USC’s Code of Conduct, whether working with children online or in person.

In addition, all USC students who work with minors are required by USC to undergo a background check. For more information about USC’s policies regarding the protection of minors, please click here.

  • The following guidelines are intended to provide information about your conduct in order to prevent abuse or unfounded allegations of abuse. They are also guidelines for recognizing when someone else may be blurring a boundary and putting a child at risk.

    You have a duty to the children with whom you work, but also a duty the organization which employs you, to prevent any accusations of abuse or improper behavior.

    • Never use any form of physical or emotional punishment to discipline children participating in the program
    • Never engage in roughhousing or sexually provocative games, including horseplay
    • Do not let children to sit in your lap
    • Do not allow any inappropriate touching, including between children
    • Be aware of the impact of your words and language on children
    • Do not swear, or use or respond to sexual innuendo; never make a sexually suggestive comment – even in fun (not to minors or to colleagues when minors are present)
    • Do not allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged
    • Be aware of situations in which actions can be misconstrued or manipulated by others (for example, being alone with the last child to leave a class or activity); conduct all dealings with children in a public environment as much as possible in order that all behavior can be readily observed
    • Do not spend time alone with a child away from others; always make sure there is another person with you.)
    • Children should use the “buddy system” or otherwise be encouraged to stay together when going to the bathroom, on field trips, or when leaving the classroom or activity area
    • Do not give any one child a ride in a car or van unless you have express permission from the parents. You should not be driving one minor only in your car after any activity.
    • Do not appear to favor one child over another; do not give gifts to any one child in a program; do not take one child on a special outing, do not accept expensive gifts from any child in the program
    • Be professional and maintain the highest standards of personal behavior at all times; do not drink alcohol or smoke when working with minors
    • Do not tell children “this is just between the two of us” or use similar language that encourages children to keep secrets from their parent/guardians.

      Guidelines provide by: Pattie Fitzgerald, founder of Safely Ever After, Inc. (www.safelyeverafter.com)

    • Stay calm
    • Ensure that the child currently is safe and feels safe
    • Assure the child you are taking what they say seriously
    • Be honest; explain that you will have to tell someone else to help stop the abuse
    • Avoid making promises you cannot keep
    • Make a note of what the child has said as soon as possible
    • Do not ask “leading questions”
    • Do not investigate on your own.
    • Report your concerns following guidance from the USC Office of Youth Protection and Programming: Reporting – Office of Youth Protection and Programming
  • Should you have any questions or concerns, you may come to the JEP House and discuss your concerns with a full-time professional staff member who can guide you through the university’s policy and support you in making a report:

    • JEP school-based participants: Brenda Pesante, JEP Director of Community Partnerships (pesante@usc.edu / 213.740.1836)
    • ReadersPLUS tutors: Tina Koneazny, JEP Associate Director – Administration & Educational Outreach (koneazny@usc.edu / 213.740.1834)
    • Community Based Organization (CBO) participants: Emma Rendon, JEP Director of Non Profit Partnerships (erendon@usc.edu / 213.740.1829)
    • STEM Program participants: DJ Kast, JEP Director of STEM Education Projgrams (dkast@usc.edu / 213.740.1837)

    For more information about protecting minor children, please visit the USC Office of Youth Protection and Programming‘s website.

    Here you can also view a training that the USC Office of Youth Protection and Programming provided for JEP student staff and volunteers during the Summer 2022. (Please click this link to see the video referenced within the training.)

Scholarships (Undergraduate & Graduate)

The following scholarships/awards/cash prizes/grants are given once a year during the Spring Semester. The application forms will be released at the beginning of the calendar year and the application deadline will usually fall between late February and mid-March. To stay informed on when the application cycle starts, follow JEP on Social Media (@uscjep).

While you are waiting for the information of next years’ awards to be released, please feel free to learn more about previous awards ceremonies and awardees on our JEP Community Service Awards page.

  • Extraordinary Community Service

    • This $1,000 cash award is given to a graduating senior or progressive Master student for their service to the community
    • Find the application form for Spring 2024 here – for reference only, scholarship applications for Spring 2024 are now closed!

    Grace Ford Salvatori Community Service Scholarship

    • Three of these $10,000 tuition scholarships are given based upon a proven record of community service, civic leadership, high academic performance, and demonstrated financial need. Open to current sophomores and juniors with Dornsife majors or minors.
    • Find the application form for Spring 2024 here – for reference only, scholarship applications for Spring 2024 are now closed!

    Desiree Benson Work-Study Grant

    • This $2,000 grant is open to sophomores and juniors who have been awarded federal work-study in their financial aid package and have demonstrated service to the community with emphasis on the neighborhoods surrounding our USC campus.
    • Find the application form for Spring 2024 here – for reference only, scholarship applications for Spring 2024 are now closed!

    Barbara Seaver Gardner Award

    • This $1000 award is open to a graduating senior was established in 2008 by then Vice President of Civic and Community Relations, Samuel Mark, who wanted to honor JEP’s founder and first director, Barbara Seaver Gardner, who retired in 1990. This award recognizes one graduating senior, who through successful participation in JEP (over several semesters) has demonstrated steadfast commitment to community service, with an emphasis on the community surrounding the University Park Campus.
    • Find the application form for Spring 2024 here – for reference only, scholarship applications for Spring 2024 are now closed!
  • The Dick Cone Award for Graduate Engaged Scholarship

    • Named in honor of Richard “Dick” Cone—JEP’s Executive Director from 1980-2002—the Cone Award is intended to honor and recognize the efforts of graduate students who bring advanced awareness and skills to address specific needs in the community.  This work can take a variety of forms, including:
      • A research project conducted with or on behalf of a community agency or organization;
      • A film, article or other media project that addresses community concerns, gives voice to and/or assists community agencies or institutions in carrying out their missions;
      • Curricula designed to address some identified community need;
      • An established or pilot program that is structured is such a way that it will be maintained beyond the time the student is guiding it;
      • A grant proposal written with or on behalf of a community agency or institution
      • Pro bono professional consultation
      • Any other work that promotes community development/empowerment
    • Non-progressive degree Master and Doctoral students eligible.
    • Find the application form for Spring 2024 here – for reference only, scholarship applications for Spring 2024 are now closed!

Additional Funding Opportunity: Tammara Seabrook Anderson Spirit of Service Award

We are aware that participating in unpaid service-learning and community engagement activities may pose challenges for low-income students. Therefore, in 2022, with the help of generous donors, JEP established the Tammara Seabrook Anderson Spirit of Service Award, which aims to eliminate financial barriers to service and increase access to JEP’s volunteer programs. For more information on the Tammara Seabrook Anderson Spirit of Service Award, please email jephouse@usc.edu 

There are 2 primary categories 1) Travel expenses award (up to $200) 2) Other Expenses award (up to $100). If your application is accepted, you will be reimbursed up to the allotted amount at the conclusion of your service assignment*. Students are expected to submit receipts/documentation for verification. We provide awards as reimbursements, as to not impact any student’s financial aid eligibility (See USC Financial Aid). While the current SoS categories do not directly replace wages, the goal is to offset/reimburse the financial costs associated with participating in JEP.

Please Note: Funding proposals are not guaranteed, and it is the student’s responsibility to contact the Financial Aid Office and/or Student accounts with questions regarding any financial implications.

  • Application Period for Spring 2024: 
    • SoS application period begins the week of JEP Assignment Pickups (February 5th, 2024) and the deadline was February 19th at 5pm
    • You will need your service assignment information for the SoS application
  • The link to the application will be available here as well through your Program Assistant (PA) during the assignment period – for reference only, applications for Spring 2024 are now closed!
  • Rolling application review, student are encouraged to apply early!

Partnering with JEP (Student Organizations)

If your student organization is located near the USC University Park campus and you would like to become a JEP partner, please complete an application for a USC student organization.

Proposals to partner with JEP are reviewed by the JEP staff twice yearly for the following semester. For consideration for a program beginning in the fall semester, applications are due March 31st for April review. Applications are also accepted in the fall for spring consideration and are due September 30th for October review. Applicants will be notified by the last day of each semester whether or not they have been approved as a JEP program for the following semester.

Contact Information

Should you have questions regarding the proposal process or guidelines, please contact us at: 

Phone: 213.740.1837
Email: jephouse@usc.edu

Career Resources (Education)

Many of our JEP participants and student staff members decide to pursue a career in education during or after their undergraduate time here at USC. To help you learn more, you can find information about some options you have from different JEP partners below:

  • The USC Rossier School of Education (pronounced “ross-EAR”) is part of the University of Southern California. At USC Rossier, we work to prepare leaders to achieve educational equity through practice, research and policy. We work to improve learning opportunities and outcomes in urban settings and to address disparities that affect historically marginalized groups.

    USC Rossier School of Education offers a wide range of academic programs designed for aspiring teachers, experienced educators and organizational leaders at various stages in their careers. Our programs offer exceptional academic preparation that reflects our mission to advance educational equity.

    The options to learn more through USC Rossier are diverse: We offer different minors for undergraduate students, professional development programs, and fifteen graduate programs (five of which are doctorate programs). Students also frequently have the opportunity to work for USC Rossier as student workers or summer interns.

    To learn more about USC Rossier School of Education, please click here.

  • Teach for America works toward the day when every child will receive an excellent and equitable education. We find and nurture leaders who commit to expanding opportunity for low-income students, beginning with at least two years teaching in a public school. In communities across America, Teach For America alumni and corps members are helping expand access and opportunity for children. As a collective force—educators, advocates, entrepreneurs, policymakers, community members—we are committed to profound systemic change so that our students can create a better world for themselves and for all of us.

    Teach For America offers different options to engage:

    – Applicants for our main program will start in the summer in which they apply and will be full time salaried employees. You can find the application here.

    – We also offer an exciting and meaningful part-time, paid job opportunity – Teach For America’s Ignite Fellowship.  As a Teach For America Ignite Fellow, you have the opportunity to virtually work with elementary or middle school students to support their academic development by tutoring them for 3-5 hours per week. This is a unique chance to develop your leadership skills and be a part of a broader movement for educational equity. TFA Ignite Fellows receive a stipend of $1,200 and are trained by veteran teachers. You can start your application here.

    To learn more about Teach for America, please click here.

Graduate Student Involvement

JEP works in a variety of ways to support graduate students who are interested in community engagement.  See below for a list of current opportunities available to graduate students at USC.

  • JEP regularly offers Dornsife-funded 50% teaching assistantships for graduate students that focus primarily on developing curricula for the 1000+ students who participate in JEP each semester from one of ~125 USC courses, as well as training and supervising JEP’s peer educators. (Must be a PhD student; students in Dornsife preferred.)

  • JEP occasionally offers Dornsife-funded 50% research assistantships for graduate students that focus primarily on research, including contributing to on-going research projects (e.g., JEP alumni project, a study of international service-learning students), and administering and analyzing pre- and post-surveys of JEP students each semester.  Students with quantitative data analysis skills are preferred as well as students with an interest or experience in the service-learning and community engagement field. (Must be a PhD student; students in Dornsife preferred.)

  • Graduate students can teach a “mini-course” in their discipline to K-12 students.  Mini-courses are typically 8 weeks long with 1 hour per week in the classroom.  Students will work with JEP Program Assistants to insure that lessons are age-appropriate and activity-centered.  Graduate students can teach independently, with other graduate students, or as a lead instructor for a team of undergraduate students. Registration occurs the first two weeks of the semester.

  • JEP staff can place graduate students in a JEP service-learning assignment, which involves working with teachers or agency staff to support daily operations (e.g., serving as a teaching assistant, mentor or tutor, etc.).   These assignments require 2 hours of service per week for 8 weeks; registration occurs the first two weeks of the semester

  • JEP hires two graduate students (MA or doctoral level) to support our work-study program in seven of the “USC Family of Schools.”  The Directors are responsible for training and supporting undergraduate students who tutor K-5 children in math and reading during the school day and who provide academic enrichment during after-school hours.  Requires a two-year commitment. (funded, hourly wages)

  • Through the YSP Program, graduate students can work as a Teacher’s Assistant and teach science concepts in K-5 classrooms.  They can serve as a STEM Education Intern and develop K-12 curricula relating to their doctoral studies.  YSP opportunities may be paid or unpaid, depending on current funding.

  • JEP occasionally hires a graduate student to work 20 hours/week during regular business hours to answer phones, greet students and provide overall administrative support to the office. (funded, hourly wages)

  • Graduate students can support JEP sites by lending their professional expertise (e.g., in accounting, project management, communication) or research skills (quantitative or qualitative) to a school or community-based organization.

  • This network of USC graduate students meets regularly to 1) discover the current state of graduate-level SLCE at USC; 2) learn about approaches to engaged scholarship, teaching and service at other universities and across a wide range of disciplines; 3) co-create structures that will support USC graduate students with an interest in SLCE; and 4) prepare current and future graduate students for professional and/or academic careers that incorporate SLCE.  For more information, please contact Susan Harris at scharris@usc.edu.

  • JEP can provide access to existing data and/or assist in data collection for research on service-learning students’ educational experiences and JEP program outcomes.  We can also facilitate access to schools and community-based organizations for students seeking to conduct community-engaged research at such sites. (unfunded)

  • JEP can support graduate students by helping them to identify or develop projects that meet the “Broader Impacts” criteria for NSF grant proposals.

  • Graduate students can serve as mentors to JEP’s undergraduate Community Scholars—a program for advanced undergraduate service-learning students who support JEP’s partner organizations through research projects.  For more information, contact  Susan Harris: scharris@uc.edu.