Chancellor Grossman Views Impact of UMD Outreach at Fall River Schools
This article originally appeared in The Fall River Herald on November 21 2012
Author: Jo C. Goode
Click here for original article
Divina Grossman, the Chancellor of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, met with local students and education officials involved in a number of programs sponsored by the University's Leduc Center for Civic Engagement on Tuesday.
"I wanted to see what our students are doing through the Leduc Center and to connect with our education partners we are working with to improve graduation rates and transition to college in Fall River and New Bedford," Grossman said.
The Leduc Center encourages college students to become involved in various community service opportunities.
At B.M.C. Durfee High School, Grossman met UMass Dartmouth students who mentor for the College Positive program, which helps guide high school juniors and seniors through the process of applying to college. Andrew Raposo, a UMass Dartmouth senior and a Durfee alumnus, told Grossman his goal was to turn his major into a career as a teacher after graduation.
When working with the high school students, they often ask what college is like, Raposo said. "We tell them that they have to learn to really be responsible. This program works well because we're here, we're in college and they can relate to us," Raposo said.
Sitting in a circle, the Durfee High School students told Grossman how the university mentors helped them write their college essays and manage the many deadlines that come with applying to higher education institutions or financial aid.
"There's less stress when your organized," said one student.
Another told Grossman the mentors guided them toward alternative ways to finance their education through scholarships and grants, a concern all the students agreed was high on their list.
Dr. Matthew Roy, Director of the Leduc Center, said he was also a Durfee High School graduate and the first person in his family to go to college.
"I didn't even know the questions to ask. I'm very impressed that you're taking advantage of the program," Roy told the high school students.
Earlier in the day, Grossman met third- and fourth-graders at the Letourneau Elementary School, where UMass Dartmouth philosophy students help the young students with reading.
Grossman also made a stop at Henry Lord Middle School where the university students hold the LEADS (Leadership for Educational Attainment Developed Through Service) program to teach leadership to the middle schoolers through community service projects.
SouthCoast Serves Showcase Highlights Service
and Volunteerism in the Region
On the evening of November 8th as part of AHA programming in downtown New Bedford, members of SouthCoast Serves, a collaborative of over 35 community-based organizations gathered to showcase service and volunteerism at the New Bedford Whaling National Park. The Showcase kicked off with a video of President Obama's introduction of the Interfaith Community Service Campus Challenge. Following the video, New Bedford's Mayor, Jon Mitchell, addressed the auditorium. He called on those in attendance to "work together to build a better community."
Next, an Interfaith panel of distinguished guests engaged the audience of honorees and community members alike with "Why We Serve: An Interfaith Discussion". Among the panelists were, Dr. John Sbrega, President, Bristol Community College; Rev. David Lima, Executive Minister, Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford; Maurice Cyr, Americorps Leader in Service, Bristol Community College; Marlene Pollock, Professor, Bristol Community College; and Rev. Ann Fox, Unitarian Universalists Society of Fairhaven.
All of the panelists came from extremely diverse backgrounds: Italian immigrant parents, first-hand poverty experience, English immigrant raised in the shadow of World War 2. It was clear that this diverse panel fairly represented the diverse community in which they serve. One by one, each panelist explained their reasons for serving. President Sbrega remarked that he is a "big proponent of holistic education. Education outside of the classroom, as well as in the classroom, is equally important." He felt that serving in the community is an excellent way to learn about our surrounding community. Rev. Fox shared that as a child growing up in England, she learned the importance of community efforts. Fox went on to say that, "When people help each other out, it seems like there is more happiness around." Prof. Pollock stated, "This is our country and we need to get involved."
After the panelists finished their presentations, the SouthCoast Serves honored eight "Volunteer Superstars" from the region nominated by various SouthCoast Serves member organizations (Meet the Superstars in the following article). The following state and national service members were also recognized and thanked for their commitment to our community:
Serving with United Neighbors of Fall River
Elizabeth Malkin, Life Together Fellow
Bittany Bertone, Social Capital AmeriCorps
Serving with CD Recreation, Fall River
Ellen Gillander, America's Promise Fellows
Serving with Boys & Girls Club, Fall River
Dana Hubbard, 2nd year Americorps member
Serving with City of New Bedford
Catherine Stillerman, AmeriCorps New Americans Immigrant Integration
Serving with CEDC of Southeastern MA
Maria Paz Londono, AmeriCorps New Americans Immigrant Integration
Serving with the Buzzards Bay Coalition
Cassie Lawson, Commonwealth Corps, Environmental Education
Jess Sasso, Commonwealth Corps, Environmental Educator
Kevin Farrell, AmeriCorps, MassLIFT Land Steward
Serving with Nativity Preparatory School of New Bedford AmeriCorps
Kaitlin Furrey, 2nd year Zach Clayton
Danny Garrett Letisha Harris
Michael McLean Meredith Philbin
Serving with Bristol Community College AmeriCorps Leaders in Service
Nicole Collins Brian Constant
Maurice Cyr Brandi Evans
Alysia St. Yves Rumana Uddin
Serving with SouthCoastal County Legal Services, AmeriCorps
Sarah Tammelleo Colleen Finan
Laura Flynn, 2nd year
Serving with University of Mass Dartmouth
Margaret LaFleur Clinton L. Wilson, Jr.
Kelly Lyons Rebecca Hough
Christine Eliason Anna Tsihlis
Michele Blanchflower Carolina Ibarra
AmeriCorps Leader in Service
Bethany Racicot Melissa Masse
Sherisse Mayala Deborah Decelus
Kate Rielly Meghan Hyland
Robert Bailey with United Neighbors of Fall River
Christoph Demer with CEDC of Southeastern MA
Serving with Our Sisters' School, New Bedford, AmeriCorps
Cassie Canastra Shana Silva
Katherine O'Hara Tara Penny
The event closed with two students from Our Sisters School, Lynea Gilreath and Maria Cortez-Lopez, both from New Bedford, who agreed to take the SouthCoast 60 pledge whereby they will complete 60 hours of service within a year.
Nominated by the United Way of Greater New Bedford, Taylor will spend her year as Miss Massachusetts 2012 traveling the state, working to raise funds and awareness for The Children's Miracle Network and its affiliated programs across the country. Taylor will also travel the state speaking to high school students, promoting her personal platform Give the Gift of You! Volunteer a non-profit initiative aimed at inspiring young people to volunteer.
Wiktor Tomkiewicz & John Li
Both Wiktor and John are new to the YMCA Southcoast SHARE THE HARVEST program this year, but have been consistently great workers. They have demonstrated their passion and devotion through reliability, hard work, and natural leadership while maintaining a positive and inquisitive attitude. Unsurprisingly, their similarities do not end with their work ethic. Wiktor and John are both juniors at UMass Dartmouth and engineering majors, civil and mechanical, respectively. Each found their way to UMass Dartmouth following their desire to achieve coupled with the high reputation the university holds in its engineering fields.
An Ocean Explorium volunteer since May 2010, Bea has amassed over 1700 hours of service, assisting in the Admissions and Gift Shop departments. Over the course of her service with the Ocean Explorium, Bea has been responsible for a variety of tasks, including training new volunteers and helping with Ocean Explorium field trips. Bea is an active participant at the Ocean Explorium volunteer meetings, and her strong voice has been instrumental in changes within the volunteer program.
Samantha began volunteering with the Buzzards Bay Coalition in February 2012. Since then, Samantha has worked with the Development Team, the Education Team, the Advocacy Team, as well as the Special Events Team. Samantha's ability to perform assigned tasks is exemplary and her strong capabilities led to her independently managing the Woods Hole Outreach Center during the summer. Her attention to detail, friendly disposition and well-rounded skills make her a valuable asset to theorganization and a joy to be around. Samantha is also a Sophmore Endeavor Scholar at UMass Dartmouth.
Phil is a volunteer who has stepped up to the plate with his enthusiasm and talent. Phil has proven to be a steadfast and reliable "Event" volunteer who can be depended upon to carry out requested tasks with vigor. Phil takes on even the most challenging tasks in a positive and friendly manner. He is a valuable asset to the Buzzards Bay Coalition and a Superstar Volunteer in the SouthCoast region.
Jen is a native of Equador, a recent UMass Dartmouth Law school graduate and former AmeriCorps member. Jen's work with the Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern MA has reunited more than a dozen families, helped immigrant students find a pathway to college, placed students into English classes and found justice for workers who faced discrimination in the workplace. Her energy, her heart, and her dedication makes her a volunteer superstar!
Joan is a Bristol Community College Community Service Leader and a recipient of the President's Volunteer Service Award. She has performed over 502 hours of service throughout the past year-volunteering for various campus and local events including the New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival and the Greater New Bedford Summerfest. One of her favorite service activities is the Teddy Ministry, where teddy bears are blessed and then distributed by her church to comfort individuals who have lost a loved one.