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MU Staff Volunteer in the Arlington Community

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Twenty Marymount employees from the Office of Student Development and Engagement embodied the University’s spirit of service by volunteering at two Arlington locations on Tuesday, October 9. Kelly DeSenti, dean for Student Development and Engagement, explains, “We decided to use our annual fall retreat time to support the Common Ground theme, so Campus Ministry found us two service opportunities: at Arlington County’s Department of Parks and Recreation and at the Diocese of Arlington Catholic Charities’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services. In this way, we were able to help the Arlington community.”

The Office of Migration and Refugee Services assists refugees with the resettlement process from the moment they get off the plane. Donations come in – kitchen, bathroom, and baby items – but volunteers are needed to sort through and organize these household goods into cardboard boxes. The MU volunteers at this site (Shelley Cosner, Kelly DeSenti, Marjory Eisenman, Melissa Garza, Geraldine Jones, Ashley Ladyman, Kate Leet, Rose Munson, and Cheryl Smith) put together 12 boxes, each of which contained items for a family of four. The group had their hands full coordinating dishes.

Melissa Garza, assistant operations director of the Office of Campus and Residential Services (OCRS), points out, “You have to put yourself in their shoes: You're a refugee with nothing to your name, and you just arrived in a strange country. How much nicer would it be to get a box of dishes that are matched, or at least color-coordinated? We must treat everyone with dignity."

The other group of MU volunteers (Chris Fiorello, Amanda Guillett, Paul Lynch, Elaine McSorley-Gerard, Jessica O’Donnell, Aline Orfali, Corri Pfister, Amanda Tompkins, Elliot Uhl, Carin Usrey, and Ainsley Worrell) headed to a section of Four Mile Run, the largest stream running through Arlington County, where they removed a significant amount of trash and pulled invasive plants from the banks.

After their morning of service, all the volunteers met for a catered lunch in Caruthers Hall, where they exchanged impressions about working together and finding common ground in service and in supporting students.

- Ashley Ladyman (left) and Kate Leet, residence directors in OCRS, sort through donations to put together boxes of dinnerware for a family of four.

PHOTO 2 - MU volunteers organize donations that will help refugees set up a home when they first arrive.

PHOTO 3 - Kelly DeSenti, dean for Student Development and Engagement, at Catholic Charities' Office of Migration and Refugee Services

PHOTO 4 - MU volunteers at the Office of Migration and Refugee Services pause for a group photo.