Dozens of students from Blessed Sacrament, Iona Prep, Salesian and Ursuline came spent their Saturday this weekend performing community service at different worksites in New Rochelle and Yonkers. Students did construction work at worksites selected by Habitat for Humanity and SAIL at Ferncliff Manor, worked at the food pantry at HOPE Community Services and cleared and prepared the New Rochelle Little League field in time for next week's Opening Day ceremonies.
Iona Preparatory School hosted the event with a prayer service and breakfast in the morning. Students from the schools were mixed into groups to work at each of the sites.
"By working towards a common goal we hope to bring together students from the four schools in a spirit of Christian service," said Anthony Casella, Iona Prep’s Director of Campus Ministry.
At the SAIL work sites, students were restoring a swing set, painting a building, installing a playhouse and planting a garden.
"In my 32 years at Blessed Sacrament this is the first time all four Catholic high schools in New Rochelle have come together like this," said Edward Sullivan, Principal of Blessed Sacrament-St. Gabriel High School.
In Yonkers, students were working on several houses and a community garden among them Iona Prep Senior Phil Roach who serves as coordinator for Iona Prep and Habitat for Humanity.
"If every Catholic high school had a leader like Phil, we could transform the face of housing in Westchester County," said Jim Killorin, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Westchester.
In New Rochelle, students worked at HOPE Community Services at St. Gabriel's Church in the morning and then moved over to Tocci Field.
"This an opportunity to give back to the community while developing camaraderie and fellowship," said Kevin Kelton, Director of Mission Integration at Iona Prep.
The day concluded with a reflection gathering back at Iona Prep.
The moderators of “Make A Difference Day” were Anthony Casella ’97, Iona Prep’s Director of Campus Ministry, along with Fr. Jay Horan from Salesian, Coordinator of Youth Ministry, Principal Edward Sullivan from Blessed Sacrament, and Sr. Pat Schifini, Ursuline's Director of Campus Ministry.
"Hopefully this will be the first of many", said Casella who noted that next year they hope to expand the program to more sites. If you would like to bring “Make A Difference Day” to your service organization, contact Casella through Iona Prep.