High School Volunteers Program at The Kinney Center

The Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph's University incorporates high school volunteers into Youth Social Skills and Sports Programs.


  • The Kinney Center's Youth Social Skills and Sports Programs help individuals with autism develop essential communication and social skills so that they can improve relationships with family members, teachers, therapists, and peers. Specifically, the program aims to increase social motivation, or the desire to interact with others; initiation of social interaction, such as approaching others, making eye contact, and saying hello; and appropriate social responses, such as answering questions, taking turns, and exchanging salutations. Instruction will also emphasize generalization of skills across different settings and staff. The program uses the principles of applied behavior analysis as the foundational philosophy of instruction.
  • Saint Joseph's University, founded in Jesuit tradition, encompasses cura personalis - care of the person. Cura personalis calls for personal development across all aspects of student life, including a concern for others. "Persons for others" is another Jesuit ideology that is adopted by Saint Joseph's University faculty, staff, and students. It is believed that we are called to serve those less fortunate than ourselves while strengthening communities for the common good. High school students committing their time to the Kinney Center will become persons for others, joining in a long-standing tradition of service learning.
  • The service learning experience offered by the Kinney Center is an excellent opportunity for high school students interested in an autism-related major such as psychology, elementary education, special education, or interdisciplinary health services. In addition, volunteers who are interested in attending Saint Joseph's University have an advantage by getting a glimpse into college life and towards possible involvement in the Kinney Center's SCHOLARS (Student Committed to Helping Others Learn About Autism Research and Support) program.
  • The Social Skills and Sports Programs are held in the fall and spring. Social Skills meets one hour each week in the evening for eight weeks, and Sports meets for two hours on Saturdays for five weeks. Visit the Social Skills Program page and Sports Program page to view specific days and times. High school volunteers participate in the 11-14 and 15-18 groups for Social Skills.

Minimum Requirements

Volunteer Time Commitment

  • One hour each week for eight weeks or two hours each week for five weeks
  • Either on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings from 7pm-8pm or Saturdays from 10am-12pm
  • Students are welcome to volunteer more than one program to gain more service hours

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Attend social skills classes for learners with ASD.
  • Participate in the classes to model age-appropriate behaviors and social skills.


  • The Kinney Center is currently seeking volunteers for the upcoming Spring Session:
  • Tuesday, February 18th - Wednesday, April 16th (Social Skills)
  • Saturday, March, 22 - Saturday, April 26th (Soccer).

Application Requirements

  • Complete the online application.
  • Please apply by Friday, February 7, 2014 to be considered for the upcoming Spring session.
  • Please also visit Human Resources website to complete an additional volunteer application.

Application Timeline

  • The Kinney Center staff will review your application. If you are deemed qualified, you will receive a phone call and an acceptance email no later than Monday, February 10, 2014.


    Please visit the inquiry page to submit your question about the High School Volunteers Program OR send an email to kinney_hs_volunteers@sju.edu.