May 13, 2016

Who we are

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Why we exist

One of the biggest problems in our cities is the separation that exists between the various people groups, needs and institutions that make up our community. There are many barriers between those who need help and those who are able to provide it. This results in an apathy towards suffering amongst the wider population, a lack of participation in volunteer projects, an ignorance of what needs to be done (and what can be done), and finally a growing sense of hopelessness amongst the most at-risk members of our community.

We believe many people doing small things can make a big difference.

Apathy, Ignorance, Lack of participation, Hopelessness…
Serve the City exists to address this problem

Our History

Serve the City International began in Brussels in 2005 as a group of friends looking to volunteer in their city with local nonprofits. Before long, Serve the City Brussels was providing service opportunities to hundreds of people and had become a foundation of Brussels life for many. Within a year, the idea had been replicated in other cities in Europe and now Serve the City is active in over 60 cities worldwide with almost 50 new cities in the process of launching.

Serve the City was launched in Kraków by Travis Mielonen in August 2014, with the first service project also completed in August. With a few projects under our belt and a number of businesses asking how to help, we began to realize the need to formalize. We aim to make STC Kraków a service to the city, and not simply one off projects. From October 2015 to September 2016 we’ve retooled what STC Kraków (and STC Poland) is about, and narrowed our goals. In November 2016 Travis along with Krzysztof & Weronika Trochimiuk setup the official “Serve the City Polska” foundation which allows us to truly partner with businesses, nonprofits, and individuals in ways that will have significant impact, this relaunch helps us serve with more energy and better efficiency. This is a national foundation which allows STC chapters to easily start in other cities throughout Poland, feel free to read our foundation charter and policies.

If you want to start Serve the city in another Polish city, please contact us and let’s talk!

Our Values

These virtues guide all of our decisions and we desire that all of our volunteers, team members and partners to adopt these attributes as their guiding principles. Our motivation is inspired by the words, wisdom, and compassion of Jesus Christ whose example and life are behind everything we do.

Humility

  • We exist to serve others, not ourselves. We will not exploit or endanger our relationship with a partner, volunteer or person in need to further the cause of Serve the City.
  • We do not presume to be experts on homelessness, caring for the elderly, asylum seekers or any of the other people groups we are asked to serve. We work in collaboration with groups who hold this expertise and desire to be a resource to them, not a form of competition.

Equality

  • We will carry out projects in collaboration with all members of society without prejudice based on race, faith, or political preference. If there is a need, we want to meet it.
  • We will treat every person as having equal value, we will not show favoritism.
  • People from all walks of life and schools of thought are welcome within the community of Serve the City, all we ask is that they share our values, with a particular emphasis on our values of equality.
  • We will not promote any political or religious agenda.

Honesty

  • We will maintain the highest standards of integrity with all partners. We will not lie, manipulate, conceal, over-promise or in any other way betray our relationships.
  • We will ensure complete financial transparency to our partners and stakeholders. If you want to know something, just ask!

Integrity

  • We view our partners as friends, not customers.
  • We will work with our corporate partners to ensure that the needs of their CSR policy are being met. We believe the power of CSR goes way beyond simple marketing and we work with companies who share that belief. However, we will not work with entities who view CSR as a marketing opportunity. No volunteer is expected to do any task that they are not happy to do!
  • If someone does volunteer to do a task, we expect them to honor their commitment.

Our Foundation

Every set of values needs a foundation, a non-movable base that can be a point of reference when things get tough or issues become clouded; this is all the more important for a nonprofit whose business is social justice.

Although we are not in any way a religious organization, we have chosen the teachings of Jesus as this foundation. We believe his teachings on equality, caring for the weak and vulnerable, living as a servant and loving our neighbor are values that everyone can agree are both admirable and worth emulating, regardless of any religious or philosophical preference. We use his teachings as a point of reference when we consider how to interact with others both within the community of Serve the City and outside with our partners and friends.

A movement that is truly accepting and welcoming of all people, without exception…

At risk of repeating ourselves, we want to make clear that Serve the City itself is not in any way religious or political, we don’t discriminate or favor any particular worldview. Having said that, due to its nature, there are many people of faith, this includes our entire leadership team who proclaim their faith in Jesus, and many without faith, who participate in the projects as volunteers, each with their own motivation. We aim for Serve the City to be a movement that is truly accepting and welcoming of all people, without exception and that those people will not be asked or expected to agree with or confirm the beliefs of anyone else. We do not promote any ideology during our events and as such we cannot work with organizations that make promotion of their own ideology a condition of cooperation.