What is Service Learning?

All of our programs are modeled after the three legs of service learning: service, education and reflection.

Program Offerings & Retreats

Immersion Retreats

The Ozanam Center seeks to add depth and context to the encounters people have with our neighbors through overnight immersion retreats. We offer immersion retreats that could last three days up until six days.

Social justice issues we cover in each of those lengths of retreats include:

  • Weekend immersion: poverty, gentrification, food issues
  • 4-day immersion: poverty, gentrification, food issues, implicit bias/privilege
  • 6-day immersion: poverty, gentrification, food issues, implicit bias/privilege, criminal justice system

Program components include:

  • Encounter with neighbors in need.
  • Service to find common ground.
  • Education to help understand the struggles of our neighbors.
  • Reflection to process these experiences.

Ozanam Center retreats charge approximately $45 per person per day, with a $15 per person per day charge for chaperon(s). Please contact Ozanam Center staff for a more accurate quote for your group.

Each group seeking to participate in an immersive experience is asked to commit to bringing at least eight participants. If this is a concern, please let us know and we would love to help you find another organization or group with which to partner.

It is required to have at least 2 chaperones and they must have completed VIRTUS.


The Ozanam Center offers one-day or partial-day workshops designed to engage groups in activities and opportunities to help them better understand the realities of our neighbors in need. Opportunities include:

  • Implicit Bias workshop
  • High school service days
  • Ozanam Café
  • Book club
  • Professional development for staff

Cincinnati Poverty Simulation

The Cincinnati Poverty Simulation challenges participants to walk in the shoes of our neighbors in need—to explore poverty experientially. The objective is to help people in our community better understand the realities of living in poverty, to grow in solidarity and to take action on behalf of our neighbors in need.

The Cincinnati Poverty Simulation is most often facilitated onsite at St. Vincent de Paul (1125 Bank St.) but can be taken offsite for a surcharge. The entire simulation experience requires at least 2-2.5 hours.

The simulation is open to people ages 18 and older. Organizations are asked bring at least 10 participants in order to provide a meaningful experience, with a maximum of 30 people. Alternative options for larger groups can be discussed. Between 5-7 volunteers are also needed to run the various stations.

Individuals who are interested in participating in the Cincinnati Poverty Simulation but are not part of a larger organization that could host it independently, can contact the Ozanam Center to inquire about upcoming simulations that are open to the public.

Please contact the Ozanam Center at Ozanam@SVDPcincinnati.org to inquire about pricing.

Confirmation Retreats

Confirmation retreats are a day of service, reflection and prayer focused on the principles of charity, justice and solidarity.

The six-hour retreats include reflection on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, service in our food pantry, a Scripture walk through the neighborhood, reflection and discussion.

Retreats cost $25 per person, including lunch (plus $10 per chaperone). Please contact Ozanam Center staff Ozanam@svdpcincinnati.org for more information or to schedule a Confirmation retreat for your parish or school.

It is required to have at least 2 chaperones and they must have completed VIRTUS.