Leadership at Cabrini

By Abigail Keefe
February 14, 2002

This semester, Cabrini College is hosting a new training program entitled Leadership with Heart sponsored by The Wolfington Center for Service & Leadership. The program, dedicated to educating the heart through community service, runs from Jan. 29 through March 21. The program will take a hands-on field-based format, with five required sessions. Developed by Mary Laver, Coordinator of Community Outreach and Partnerships, the pilot program was designed in response to student interest concerning community service.

The program was developed in response to the enormous amounts of energy and dedication there is towards reaching out to the surrounding community stemming from Cabrini’s well-known Education of the Heart service program for all freshmen. With the help of students, teachers, faculty, Campus Minister Steve Albero, Jessica Morgan and the outreach staff of Saint Joseph’s University, Mary Laver has developed this program to train leaders for the community through service. “There is so much interest from Cabrini students, especially the sports teams, to do more community service then just the required day of freshman year,” said Mary Laver. “Seeing all of this energy and knowing that Cabrini College is known for training leaders for the community through its education, why not train leaders through community service,” said Laver.

Intended to energize and prepare students for community service, this new program takes place inside of a classroom first to teach students about the role they will have through community service and what they will learn. “We are trying to teach the students such things as ‘why are these people homeless’ and ‘why are these people starving’ so they can better understand and appreciate the extent of their service,” said Laver. “I think it’s a great idea to include classroom learning first because you learn so much more about why you are going to help at a soup kitchen or a trauma center instead of just going there, doing your service and leaving,” said Karen Bonion, a student involved with the new leadership program. It is more than just classroom experience however, you learn how to apply what you know and what you have learned.

The program began with an orientation to Leadership on Jan. 29 with HEART: heal what hurts, educate, act, reflect, thank and transform. HEART is intended to help those participating in the program to learn how to link what they will learn here with what they will do in the world. Consisting of roughly 20 students, the group will par take in their first real community service project this Saturday, Jan. 16.

“I am pretty positive of this program. It really does teach people to get out there and do something for your community and develop your skills. It also helps to broaden community learning as well,” said Bonion. “One of our main focuses with the program is to allow students to organize and motivate themselves to open up to skills that everyone has. It is so important to recognize your skills as well as others’ skills if you want to be an effective leader,” said Laver.

Supposing this pilot program is a success, where will the college go from here? “I am eager to move forward with this program,” said Laver. Laver also mentioned that in the end she hopes to have four components to the program so that a student who attends the college for the full four years will be able to go through levels of leadership development. This introductory pilot program right now will be offered both semesters next year and possibly a second step program will be developed.

“Eventually I believe the college will offer this program as an actual academic credit. The leadership program would be worth one credit and work towards being part of a certificate program in social justice or leadership for service in addition to a students major or minor on their transcript,” said Laver. This combination of academics and service would be the first component of the program. With encouragement from Dean of Academic Affairs Kate O’Connell, Laver is looking to expand Leadership with Heart to a full-blown leadership certificate program within the next school year.

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Abigail Keefe

Abigail Keefe is a Cabrini College student studying communications, enjoying her time in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Abbie loves working for the school newspaper, the Loquitur, and is also passionate about everything that the communication field has to offer.

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