By Mike Kelly ’14
On Sunday, under sunny skies, more than 218 volunteers – from community members to College students, faculty and staff – spread across 20 non-profit work sites in Yates County to complete community service for the 17th annual Celebrate Service…Celebrate Yates (CSCY) event. Those are the largest numbers of volunteers for the day of service since its record-breaking 248 volunteers back in 2010.
A collaboration between Keuka College and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce, CSCY is the one day each year when volunteers join hands across the community to serve the county’s non-profit agencies, completing tasks such as raking, cleaning, repairing and painting. This year’s work sites included camps (Camp Cory, Camp Koinonia, Camp Iroquois), cemeteries (St. Michael’s Cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery), and other non-profit organizations such as Milly’s Pantry, Penn Yan Ambulance Corps., and the Izaak Walton League chapter clubhouse in Guyanoga.
First-time volunteer and Yates County District Attorney Valerie Gardner said she was “thrilled to assist in community projects that benefit us all.”
Gardner’s entire office staff participated this year, handling spring cleaning tasks at the Arts Center of Yates County Sunny Point location in Dundee. According to Gardner, the event served as a “good way to connect [Keuka College and Yates County] and to foster good interaction.”
Given the severity of the winter weather this year, Rev. Eric Detar, co-chair of the CSCY steering committee and chaplain for Keuka College, said he was initially nervous that extended wintry conditions might hinder volunteers from completing the full array of work – often outdoors – that non-profits count on each spring. But with near 60-degree temperatures and sunny skies at the youth baseball complex on Elm Street in Penn Yan, where he was serving with others, Detar let out a sigh of relief.
“It was a beautiful day because the weather was perfect and the community worked together,” Detar said, adding that when it comes to CSCY, he holds firm to a 1968 quote from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve…you only need a heart full of grace.”
Over at the ARC of Yates on Hamilton Street, Mike Wainwright ’15, was also upbeat, pleased that the weather held out for the day.
“It was nice to be out in the sun and enjoy the day and work with your hands—and nice to be outside after a week of studying,” Wainwright said.
Working in a garden nearby was Haley Jordan ’15, who recently returned from Costa Rica, where the College’s Alternative Spring Break team had conducted community service during the final week of March.
“While there, we talked about how to give back at home and that got me motivated to come back and do community service locally,” said Jordan, a first-year volunteer.
Eric Saltrelli ’15 was also part of the group of CSCY volunteers helping the ARC clean up garden beds and lay sod to prepare for spring.
“I just like to help out the community and help those who can’t necessarily do this and make their surroundings look nice,” the first-year volunteer said, adding: “Any chance I get, I want to help out.”
Around the county, volunteer teams also participated in the first-ever CSCY Selfie Contest, snapping photos of themselves at work sites. Some of the selfies entered into the contest included one of Jordan stepping inside a tall blue recycling bin, Richard Weit ’15 posing with lost shoes on a pole at Camp Cory and the district attorney’s team getting in the spirit with a CSCY committee member at Sunny Point. Selfies were posted across the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter social media platforms and two winners were selected, one winning a Dunkin Donuts gift card and another an iTunes gift card.
CSCY received additional help from a number of Keuka College student athletes who volunteered as teams to serve at Camp Cory. The efforts of collegiate student athletes were mirrored by their high school counterparts, as more than a dozen volunteers affiliated with the Penn Yan Academy baseball teams pitched in at Camp Koinonia in Italy Valley.
Molly McGugian, a Keuka College alumnus and now manager of the College’s Teamworks! Adventure course also assisted at Camp Cory. As a student, McGuigan volunteered with CSCY and was excited to come back to serve her community Sunday.
“It’s a great opportunity for our athletes to get a different look at the community we are in,” she said, adding, “It’s great to see people are still enthusiastic and willing to help.”
This year, CSCY was supported through the generous donations and in-kind goods and services of the following sponsors and business merchants: ARC of Yates County, AVI Fresh Catering, Eaves Family Dental Group, Esperanza Mansion, Ferro, Fitzgerald Brothers, Keuka College Campus Safety, and the Office of Alumni and Family Relations; Knapp and Schlappi, Knights of Columbus, K-Ventures, Lyons National Bank, Ricoh, Roto-Salt, Seneca Lake Duck Hunters Association, Stork Insurance Agency, Tony Collins Class of ’77 Celebrity Gold Classic, and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce.
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of features on recipients of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.
Like many people, Keuka College junior Brittany Gleason has a bucket list. And like many people, traveling is among the items on the list.
Thanks to receiving the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award, Gleason had the opportunity to cross ‘traveling’ off of her list during her January Field Period™. The mathematics major and Carthage resident traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, where she took classes at Centro Cultural de Idiomas (CCI), a cultural language center.
“To me, traveling means learning and experiencing new cultures and broadening my horizons,” said Gleason. “It also means meeting new people and forming lifelong friendships. I was excited to push myself and get as much out of the experience as possible.”
But she was not the only Keuka student who traveled to Costa Rica for her January Field Period™. Sophomore Kathryn Zawisa, another recipient of the Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award, went too, intent on learning more about how Costa Rican small businesses are run.
Gleason, Zawisa, a marketing and management major from Amsterdam—and four other Keukonians—participated in Finger Lakes Community College’s (FLCC) study abroad program. During the Field Period™ each conducted, Gleason and Zawisa had the opportunity to improve their Spanish language proficiency, and develop an understanding and appreciation of Costa Rica’s culture. They also had the opportunity to tour sites of interest and be housed with a host family.
“It’s been my dream to travel to a Spanish-speaking country where I could use what I have learned,” said Zawisa. “Taking Spanish classes since sixth grade has transformed into a minor at Keuka. Not only have I enjoyed learning the language, but I’ve also found myself yearning to learn more about the culture. Costa Rica gave me the opportunity to understand the Spanish culture and feed my interest.”
It was also a chance to practice community service.
“I have been involved in my community from an early age, so when I heard we were going to work with young girls, I jumped at the chance to help,” said Gleason.
She worked at a social services organization which provides room, board, and schooling to adolescent girls who have been removed from their homes due to domestic violence, neglect, and or abuse.
Gleason enlisted the help of her fellow Enactus teammates to ask the College community for donations for the girls. Together they collected pens, pencils, erasers, markers, colored pencils, notebooks, stickers, ponytail holders, headbands, and barrettes, among others. Zawisa also intended to donate part of her award money to a Costa Rican charity.
“I believe I am a driven and passionate student, which is shown through my interaction with others,” said Zawisa. “I hope I displayed this passion while in Costa Rica.”
Part of that passion was the desire to compare how a small Costa Rican business is run versus an American one.
“My family owns two small businesses in New York state so I already know much about how to run one,” said Zawisa. “But seeing what differs in Costa Rican businesses, instead of reading it online, was an unforgettable opportunity.”
And she was not just interested in how the businesses are run.
“I wanted to learn the differences of communication in a Spanish-speaking country such as nonverbal cues, inter-gender communication, and more,” said Zawisa. “Learning these skills could put me one step ahead of other Spanish minors because I’d not only know the language, but I’d also know how to approach, and speak to, a native Spanish speaker.”
Added Gleason: “Being at Keuka has given me the confidence and knowledge I need to be a productive member of society. I believe traveling to Costa Rica was a life-changing experience, especially because I learned more about the world while helping others in need.”
Vanessa Coy was “devastated” when she learned about the powerful typhoon that struck her native Philippines last week.
Her first concern was for her relatives—aunts, uncles, and others—who lived in towns and cities that felt the brutal force of Typhoon Haiyan, which brought sustained 147 mile-per-hour winds, 45-foot waves, and more than 15 inches of rain to some areas.
“Everyone is OK,” said Coy, a senior adolescent education major from Wellsville who came to the United States at a young age.
Coy was born in Olangapo City, a city located in the province of Zambales, northwest of the Philippine capital of Manila.
“My relatives in Zambales were not hit, but my family in Manila was,” said Coy. “I recently found out they lost their beach homes, farm animals, everything. They are relying on U.S. troops to supply first aid, food, and water.”
That information came from a cousin in Japan, according to Coy.
“We have not been able to get through [to our relatives],” said Coy, who last visited the Philippines in 2012. “We have sent money, but don’t know if they received it.”
Officials estimate that at least 4,200 people were killed and three million displaced. Nearly 500,000 homes were damaged.
The Center for Spiritual Life is leading a Keuka College drive to raise funds for the Philippines through ShelterBox USA (http://shelterboxusa.org). ShelterBox is an international organization that “responds instantly after natural and other disasters by delivering boxes of aid to those who need it most. Each ShelterBox supplies an extended family with a tent and essential equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless.”
A complete box costs $1,000 “but we will donate whatever funds we raise,” said Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain.
Donations (cash or check) may be dropped off in the Center for Spiritual Life (Dahlstrom 13). Checks should be made payable to “Keuka College” (indicate Shelter Box – Philippines in the memo line).
“In the past, our community has come together to support those around the world who have been devastated through natural disasters,” said Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain. “We responded when the earthquake crippled Haiti and the tsunami hit Japan. Today, we have the opportunity to come alongside the people of the Philippines, who were hit so hard by Typhoon Haiyan.”
Coy is appreciative of the College’s ShelterBox initiative and said there is one other thing people can do to help.
“The Filipino people have a very religious background,” she explained, ”and they need every prayer they can get because it is going to take years to rebuild the country.”
Taylor McIntyre, a resident of Trumansburg and senior at Watkins Glen High School, is the September recipient of Keuka College’s George H. Ball Community Achievement Award.
McIntyre will receive a $68,000 scholarship ($17,000 annually) in recognition of her strong academic and community service record.
The award honors Rev. Dr. George Harvey Ball, founder and first president of Keuka College.
McIntyre was nominated for the award by Tammy Lotocky, an instructor in the criminal justice program at The Greater Southern Tier (GST) BOCES.
“Taylor has helped her community and made a difference to the people around her,” said Lotocky. “This consistent willingness to go above and beyond best describes her.”
Here are just a few examples of how McIntryre has made a difference in her school and community:
McIntyre will major in criminology and criminal justice at Keuka and has prepped for her college career in the criminal justice program at GST BOCES. She was selected to serve on the Bush Campus CSI Team, a three-person group that competes in forensic science knowledge and skills on the state and regional level. The team captured second place in a regional competition and this year she will lead the team and train new members for competitions in March and April.
In addition, she was selected by her peers and instructors to serve an eight-week stint as class lieutenant— the highest rank—and was responsible for peer academic support and classroom discipline.
For more information on the George H. Ball Community Achievement Award, or to nominate a high school senior, go to: http://www.keuka.edu/community/
One of the Yates County Chamber of Commerce’s most popular programs is Business After Hours (BAH).
The Chamber says BAH is “a great way to stretch your business contacts and have a little fun at the same time.”
On Sept. 11, members of the Chamber did just that at Keuka College. The event was held at the Lucina, home of College President Dr. Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera.
Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the second in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2013.
Josh Beaver ’13 of West Terra Haute, Ind., graduated with a degree in political science and history and will pursue a dual master’s degree in American history and historical administration from Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in Charleston, Ill. While he pursues his degree, Beaver will also hold down a customer service- based job in telecommunications at Alorica, Inc.
During his time at Keuka, Beaver was heavily involved in a number of campus clubs and organizations, including Student Senate, Chemistry Club, President’s Leadership Council and served as a member of the Spiritual Life Advisory Board, on two Alternative Spring Break mission trips, and on the steering committee for Keuka’s annual day of community service, Celebrate Service … Celebrate Yates (CSCY).
“I value the opportunities that Keuka gave me, and taught me about: the environment, that change is not always a bad thing, the hard work ethic and dedication to yourself, to always do your best,” Beaver said. “My coursework taught me how to be flexible, how to pick up on patterns (mainly things that have already happened and how they can be improved on), and also how to analyze and adjust with what works and doesn’t work.”
Kayla Curtis, a senior psychology major, found out today (April 18) she made it to the Final Four of the National Student Employment Association (NSEA) Student Employee of the Year competition.
Curtis was honored at a luncheon for being the 2013 Keuka College, New York state, and Northeast Association of Student Employment Administrators (NEASEA) Student Employee of the Year. As the regional winner, she went up against three other regional winners (from University of Iowa, California Polytechnic State University, and Auburn University) for the NASEA award, which was won by the student from Auburn University.
Nonetheless, winning the NEASEA award is impressive because nearly 100 schools/institutions from 11 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and six Canadian provinces are members of the organization.
“Two-hundred students, including six from Keuka College, were nominated at the institutional level,” said Sally Daggett, associate director of the Center for Experiential learning and director of student employment. “Nineteen schools from nine states submitted their winners for state awards and the regional winner was chosen from that group.”
Curtis, who hails from of Red Creek, is a psychology major who has served as student coordinator for the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) chapter on campus since arriving on campus as a transferring sophomore. BBBS pairs volunteer “Bigs” (college students) with “Littles,” young students befriended and mentored by the Bigs.
Curtis was nominated by Valerie Webster, co-curricular transcript coordinator in the Center for Experiential Learning
According to Webster, Curtis increased the number of matches from one to 12, handles all aspects of training and data entry for the “Bigs,” and does “98 percent of the work to keep the program operational.”
Curtis exhibits a “work ethic, initiative and commitment to understanding and serving others” that will make her an asset to any organization after graduation, said Webster. “Her positive attitude, patience and ability to work with people are refreshing and energizing.”
Curtis has also been a resident assistant, a three-year member of the Psychology Club (current vice president), a member of two honor societies, and holds a 3.8 GPA.
Curtis received a certificate and a check for $250 from NEASEA, and a plaque and $100 gift card to the bookstore from the College.
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles of Student Employee of the Year nominees. The winner will be announced at a luncheon Thursday, April 18.
Kayla Curtis of Red Creek, a senior psychology major at Keuka, was nominated for the 2013 Student Employee of the Year award for her work as student coordinator for the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) chapter on campus.
BBBS pairs volunteer “Bigs” (college students) with “Littles,” young students befriended and mentored by the Bigs.
Curtis has held that role since enrolling as a transferring sophomore at Keuka in the fall of 2010. But a transition in professional staff at the Greater Rochester BBBS office three weeks after Curtis started left her little training and only one match. Nonetheless, Curtis pressed forward. According to Valerie Webster, co-curricular transcript coordinator, she increased the number of matches from one to 12, handles all aspects of training and data entry for the “Bigs,” and does “98 percent of the work to keep the program operational.”
This includes organizing activities throughout the year that pairs of Bigs and Littles can attend, both on and off campus. Anytime an event is held on campus, Curtis arranges for Keuka’s AVI Fresh (dining services) to provide lunch or dinner for all Littles, so they can have a positive learning experience on a college campus.
According to Webster, Curtis exhibits a “work ethic, initiative and commitment to understanding and serving others” that will make her an asset to any organization after graduation. “Her positive attitude, patience and ability to work with people are refreshing and energizing,” Webster said.
Curtis has also been a resident assistant, a three-year member of the Psychology Club (current vice president), a member of two honor societies, and holds a 3.8 GPA.
For the seventh straight year, Keuka College has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which has administered the Honor Roll since 2006, admitted 690 colleges and universities for the role they play in solving community problems and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.
Keuka was one of 113 schools to earn Honor Roll with Distinction recognition. It’s the third time in four years the College has earned that status.
Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
In the past year, Keuka College students dedicated nearly 143,000 hours of service to the community. Some of the many local organizations and programs that benefit from the time and talents of Keuka students include: Yates County Humane Society; Clinton Crest Manor, an adult care facility in Penn Yan; Child and Family Resources Inc; Head Start in Dundee; Celebrate Service… Celebrate Yates, an annual day of community service organized by students and the Yates County Chamber of Commerce; and the DRIVE (diversity, responsibility, inclusion, vision, experiential learning) program, a partnership between the Yates ARC, Penn Yan Central School, and the College that provides on-campus learning and life training skills to area students with special needs, ages 18-21.
CNCS oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. It is a federal agency that engages more than 5 million Americans in service through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov.
Jared Taylor, a resident of North Syracuse and senior at Bishop Ludden Junior-Senior High School, is the February recipient of Keuka College’s Community Achievement Award.
Taylor will receive a $68,000 scholarship ($17,000 annually) in recognition of his strong academic and community service record.
Taylor was nominated for the award by Katie DeBlois, director of guidance at Bishop Ludden.
“I believe Jared is the perfect candidate for the Community Achievement Award because he epitomizes what it means to be a selfless and compassionate individual,” said DeBlois. “He makes the people, places, and animals around him better because of his efforts. He has a genuine interest in helping others.”
According to DeBlois, Bishop Ludden, like Keuka College, places great importance on community service.
“We require a certain number of volunteer hours each year, and Jared consistently far exceeds our expectations,” said DeBlois. “He goes above and beyond what we ask of him, and he truly lives our message of service to others. He is always ready to lend a helping hand.”
Among Taylor’s community service activities is Big Brothers Big Sisters. A Big Brother since his freshman year, Taylor plans to continue his participation in the program after enrolling in Keuka.
Taylor, who plays baseball for the Gaelic Knights, shares his talent and passion for athletics with youngsters in a youth baseball program. An altar server at St. Joseph the Worker, Taylor has helped train new altar servers, and volunteers at the church’s food pantry and nursery. A regular blood donor, he also lends his time to Helping Hounds Dog Rescue, a local animal shelter, “about which he is especially passionate,” said DeBlois.
“He believes in helping the dogs so much that he adopted a coon hound who had been abused,” she said. “Now the dog gets the love every pet deserves.”
“I have had the sincere pleasure of getting to know Jared both as a student and a person,” said DeBlois. “I fully believe he deserves this prestigious award.”
For more information on the Community Achievement Award, or to nominate a high school senior, go to: http://www.keuka.edu/community/
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