Community Empowerment Activists

Program Vision

The Community Empowerment Activists (CEA) program develops critically engaged students through internship placement with grassroots, advocacy, and base-building organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Students will advance the social justice vision of their host organizations through campaigns, coalition-building, and other initiatives in solidarity with diverse San Francisco residents, while examining the complexity of policy, politics, and regional Bay Area dynamics which impact vulnerable local communities.


  • Work 4-5 hours per week on-site with host advocacy organization, which includes 1-2 hours per week off site during academic year. 
  • Attend biweekly McCarthy class meetings and monthly advising sessions to gain mentoring around issues related to grassroots organizing, professional development, and personal growth (guest facilitators also include community leaders, activists, and artists, and USF faculty/staff).
  • Participate in orientations, retreats, end-of-semester presentations, and special community partner and community building events.
  • Participation in the CEA program fulfills the Community Engaged Learning (CEL) requirement (2-unit per semester taken in the Fall and Spring).
  • Host organizations are selected and paired with CEAs at the discretion of McCarthy Center staff.
  • The program requires a one (academic) year commitment to fulfill the CEL requirement. 

Community Partner Host Agencies include: