Students honored for being ‘builders’ of community

By Staff Writer
April 22, 2004

Last Friday an event was held to honor the “educated hearts” of Cabrini, to celebrate “Outstanding Leaders in Community Engagement and Outreach.”.

Seven round tables filled Grace Hall atrium, in the middle of each, a couple of bricks to go along with the “construction” theme of the night and a candle setting the laid-back type of atmosphere. The centerpiece showed pictures of old and new CEO’s at various locations, and was decorated with medals and construction hats to keep the notion of the volunteers being the “construction crew” of the community.

The “construction crew” members were made up of students, faculty and staff, individuals, and various groups. Every honoree worked hard within the campus community and outside Cabrini to offer leadership, while also linking the Cabrini community to the outside world.

Before people began to show Dr. Mary Laver, the coordinator of Community Outreach, along with other faculty and staff, set up food and beverages for many guests who were invited. Various types of soda, sandwiches, and desserts sat on the long tables in the atrium.

Upon entering the gathering, everyone wrote their names on white stickers so that everyone could distinguish who was who and what service/s they provided.

Dr. Myrna Grandgenett, started the night by welcoming everyone to the 2nd annual “CEO” Honors Reception. The first to speak, Phil Nicolo, began by reflecting that “charitable work may not make the headline”, but “that’s ok”.

Dr. Mary Laver, introduced that it’s easy to “measure growth by buildings” but not real “growth and change”. She went on to state that the people in the room were the community builders of today and that everyone reached out and “worked together for a good cause.”

The volunteer sites were located in different locations from Philadelphia to Mexico and the activities ranged from signing people up for voter registration, to soup kitchens/ food drives, helping the elderly, walking for a cause, to micro lending programs and literacy programs, sports for the handicapped, and social justice immersion.

David Chiles gave out the Faculty and Staff Awards, calling all the faculty and staff members one by one to receive their awards. Each were given a glove to represent that they performed a service/s in the construction of community outreach.

Dr. Nick Uliano, from the romance languages department, spoke about the weekly ESL program along with after-school activities that were just some of the services that had come out of working to help the community. Jessica, one of the many individuals who worked in community outreach, described a girl who didn’t have any books at home due to fact that her school couldn’t afford books for everyone. Jessica, along with many others, donated over a hundred books for the kids during a semester so that they could keep educating themselves outside of school. It was the “proudest moment of my life so far” to do something to change even just one child’s life for the better. She said that she, unlike many people, looks forward to going to work on Monday and that it’s the best part of the week.

Missy Sellitto, assistant director of Cabrini Mission Corps and ’00 graduate, told how she worked in the community and how she is still active in retreats which she continues through the Cabrini Mission Corps. She went on Project Appalachia in W. Va., worked for 2 years in a Brooklyn foster care, as well as many other services. She commended the students before giving out the Active Citizens Awards to the individuals who helped in Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Border Experience, New York City Cabrini Mission Immersion, Project Appalachia, and the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness campaign. Each individual were given plaques with the “Leading with Heart” logo, four hands touching a heart, and on the bottom of the plaque it said ” Leading with heart to create a more just and compassionate society.”

Karen Bonin, class of 2005, gave Community Builder Awards for people educating their minds in class and their hearts in the community. She said that the holidays are always a good time to give, but “what about the rest of the year.”

Kevin Stroman, Founder and President of “Kids First Now”, said that everyone needs education and that it is a “blessing” that Cabrini College is here.

Lastly, Dr. Mary Laver, gave two awards, one to Karen Bonin for the “Christmas All Year Program” and to Dr. Toni Iadarola for her “grace under pressure.” Dr. Mary Laver concluded “the world needs everyone of you and your gifts.”

The night ended with Dr. Myrna Grandgenett thanking all the people who do this everyday. She said to remember that the final exam is after school when you make the love of “God more visible in the world.”

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Staff Writer

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