NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- During The College of New Rochelle’s (CNR) Founder’s Day Luncheon on October 23, 2014, four CNR students were presented with Serviam Awards for outstanding community service: Claudia Benitez, (White Plains, NY) School of Arts & Sciences, Marie Stephanie Gomez (New Rochelle, NY), School of Nursing, Sherlyn Johnson (Brooklyn, NY), School of New Resources, and Alice Melcone (Stony Point, NY), Graduate School.
Established by the Ursuline Institute and continued by the College, the annual awards honor those students who best embody the Ursuline philosophy of Serviam (I will serve) and support the College’s mission of education for service. Tiffani Blake, Special Assistant to the President of The College of New Rochelle, presented the awards which honor extraordinary volunteer service to family, church, school, community, and/or society.
“The College of New Rochelle has supported service opportunities for students, faculty and staff since its founding over a century ago and education for service lies at the heart of our mission. Opportunities for and engagement in various forms of service permeate our campuses and the surrounding communities.” Blake explained
This year’s recipients include:
Claudia Benitez SAS’16 is a student leader who participated in the Student Government Association as calendar coordinator to help plan and execute student events, was a member of the College’s Swim Team and a regular volunteer on the Midnight Run to feed and clothe the homeless in New York City. She served as a coordinator of the Special Olympics on Community Service Day, as a member of both the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and the Strawberry Festival Committee, and as a student ambassador who welcomed prospective students for the Office of Admission.
Benitez is an active parishioner at St. Bernard Catholic Church, White Plains where she helps organize its annual community fundraiser, Carnival. Additionally, she volunteers at Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in White Plains for its annual Festa fundraiser.
Marie Stephanie Gomez SN’15 participated in the March 2014 Plunge to Haiti at College Pierre Toussaint in Sassier. While working there to establish the school’s first library, she drew upon her own experience as a 15-year-old immigrant from the Philippines to better understand the Haitians she served. This project involved collaboration with the students and teachers of the school, extensive cleaning of the room to be used, and organizing approximately 1,000 English, French and Spanish books.
Gomez is an active member of the Student Nurses Association (SNA) and the College’s Tennis Team, and also volunteered her expertise to create advertising videos for the Study Abroad Program and the Plunge Experience.
Sherlyn Johnson SNR’16 is a community advocate for Empowering Youth Towards Excellence, Inc., an organization that works out of the Nehemiah Youth collaborative located in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Through this organization, Johnson has helped to raise the cultural awareness of the youth in the community through exposure to the arts and aids in the development of their leadership skills. In her role, Johnson conducts a variety of seminars for women and is often invited to serve as a motivational speaker at stress management and spiritual enrichment programs. This past summer, she organized eight seminars at the Brooklyn Public Library in Grand Army Plaza. Each seminar focused on community imperatives for women including etiquette, employment, economics, civic responsibility, and empowerment.
Working alongside her Pastor of Faith Healing Temple, also located in Brooklyn, Johnson provides care packages for students who are away at college, distributes food during Thanksgiving, visits the homebound, as well as provides clothing to those who reside in shelters.
On CNR’s Brooklyn Campus, Johnson is an engaged student who volunteers with Campus Ministry, as well as assists with the College’s neighborhood outreach events.
Alice Melcone GS’15 volunteered last summer at Door of Hope 4 Teens, an organization that helps youth recover from self-abuse, where she worked to improve the capacity of this non-profit organization to serve teens that are in immediate crisis. Her work included increasing public awareness through website improvements, raising funds through events and a successful grant application, and stewarding the non-profit board. Because mental health services are inaccessible to large segments of the population in this region, this small non-profit that primarily serves rural South Carolina has had an impact greater than its size.
The first Catholic college for women in New York State, The College of New Rochelle was founded in 1904 by the Ursuline Order. Today, it comprises the all-women School of Arts & Sciences, and three schools which admit women and men: the School of New Resources (for adult learners), the School of Nursing and the Graduate School. The main campus of the College is located in lower Westchester County, 16 miles north of New York City. The College maintains five other campus locations in New York City. Visit the College’s website at www.cnr.edu