This year, Marymount’s Volunteer Service Day at the start of the new academic year took on special meaning. Coming one day before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it was a time to remember and pay tribute to those who died that day by reaching out and helping others. One hundred ten students, from freshmen to master’s degree candidates, joined Marymount President Matthew D. Shank -- fanning out to seven sites across the region. They cleaned a shelter for women and children; played bingo and cards and sang songs with seniors; and tackled major yard clean-up projects at several facilities.
Taking a break from weed-pulling, Dr. Shank notes, “The spirit of service is so strong in these young people. It truly makes me hopeful for the future.”
Service is, indeed, an integral part of this generation’s way of life. Freshman Bob Brown, a Communication major from Orange, CT, points out, “I’m an Eagle Scout and work with Boy Scouts of America, so volunteering today was the obvious thing to do.” Sophomore Chris Foley, a Nursing major from Alexandria, VA, adds, “It feels good to come together as a group to help.”
Freshman Lillian Catts, a Fashion Merchandising major from Charlottesville, VA, received a Spirit of Service Scholarship in recognition of her extensive volunteer work while in high school. She already has lined up service projects for the weeks ahead, including a food drive and helping with the Senior Olympics.
This dedication to service spans the globe. Sophomore Benjamin Huang is a Psychology major from Taiwan. He says, “My parents stressed community service, and I follow in their footsteps. I have organized service projects at every school I’ve attended. In China, I was a member of Roots and Shoots, the Jane Goodall Institute’s global environmental and humanitarian youth program.”
For senior Trang Tran, a Business Administration major from Vietnam who is at Marymount this semester through the State Department’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program, volunteering is a way to connect and give back to her new community. She explains, “I volunteered back home, and I want to help out here, too.”
Remarking on the turnout of cheerful volunteers, Ashton Mallon, assistant director of Campus Ministry, says, “To have so many students give their weekend to serve the community was a beautiful example of the heart of service that is so prevalent here at Marymount.”
PHOTO 1 – Marymount President Matthew D. Shank, senior Trang Tran, and sophomores Benjamin Huang and Chris Foley pull weeds at the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center in Alexandria, VA.
PHOTO 2 – Senior Adam Cox and Sophomore Derek DiGionvanni clear underbrush.
PHOTO 3 – Marymount President Matthew D. Shank holds the ladder, while freshman Nico Burns saws off a dead branch.
PHOTO 4 – Sophomore Benjamin Huang and freshmen Kristen Kramke and Lily Catts pull weeds along the side of the St. Martin de Porres Senior Center.