Students Take Compassionate Service into the Worcester Community
Prior to the start of the academic year, nearly 200 Assumption student leaders volunteered during the annual Assumption Loves Worcester Day of Service. Students performed beautification tasks that maintenance crews at the three different Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) locations do not have time to address, instead focusing on other needs.
“I think it’s important to give back to the community because it’s a reflection on ourselves and who we are as a community,” said Patrick Wall ’19, an accounting major from Holbrook. “Volunteering is important at Assumption and I think it’s great that we give back.”
According to Michael Reynolds, maintenance supervisor for roughly 1,000 apartments, the students’ work is not only critical to creating a livable community, but greatly appreciated. “It’s a tremendous help for the maintenance department and the Housing Authority overall because we don't have the number of staff to do the detail work that we’re doing with this group,” he said. “When we get groups like this, they can take care of the things we don't have the regular time in our schedule for.”
Kate Brice ’19, a chemistry major form Colchester, CT, thinks it’s important for Assumption students to serve in the community they call home for four years. “It’s really important to give other people the chance to have pride in where they come from,” she said. “Volunteering is something I have always enjoyed, so it’s a good experience for everyone involved—the community benefits, we benefit.”
This is the fifth year that Assumption has worked with the WHA for the Assumption Loves Worcester Day of Service, beginning the tradition in 2013 when a connection between Assumption and WHA Director Carlton Watson ’76 was established. “What a great partnership, connecting with a great organization,” said Ted Zito, director of residential life. “Having an Assumption alum out here doing this work as part of his career, to see the impact he is having on our great city, and then to share that with our student leaders is awesome. And it’s coming from someone who was a student-leader himself.”
Zito added that inviting student leaders, who have influence on the general population, to participate shares the important and “infectious” message of community service, a cornerstone of the Assumption mission, which urges students to make a difference in their communities.
“It’s important for our students and others at Assumption to recognize that we’re part of a bigger community in the city of Worcester,” he said. “This is one small way that we can give back to the city and live out Assumption’s mission in the community, and serve others in a way that is helpful. It’s nice to hear about the direct impact that we will have, doing some work that, in terms of time and length isn't tremendous, but will have a great impact in this area.”
Gemaers Dorvil ’19, a computer science major and physics and engineering minor, grew up in similar housing projects in Everett. “Every time I come back here I feel as if I’m giving back to people who gave a chance to me. You don't really realize how important [these places are] to people,” he said, adding that his parents came to the Unites States from Haiti with very little money. “These apartments gave them a chance to create a home and a family for themselves, so it’s really important for me to give back to them.”
“I love seeing Assumption students out here,” said Jessica Familia ’14, a family self-sufficiency coordinator at WHA, who volunteered when she was an Assumption student. “This work doesn't go unnoticed. It’s truly appreciated every year that Assumption comes. The community appreciates it, even more so the residents. It’s making their days better just by seeing a beautiful environment. This is their home.”
Kimberly Dunbar, Director of Public Affairs, Assumption College