CUA Community Keeps Spirit of Giving Alive Year-Round
At CUA, the gift of giving is not merely a seasonal obligation; members of the campus community volunteer their time and knowledge year-round to help the less fortunate.
CUA Sophomore Sally Oram and other student volunteers sorted clothing gathered on campus for Exodus Youth Ministries in December.
For 12 years, faculty, staff and students have been working with Exodus Youth Ministries, an ecumenical Catholic ministry. Volunteers help the organization fulfill its mission to provide evangelization, catechesis, prayer, friendship and social outreach to the homeless, as well as to runaway and latchkey youth.
During the holidays, Exodus provided ample opportunities for the university community to become involved. In November, the undergraduate student government rallied the student body to collect money for the ministry, which used the proceeds to purchase Thanksgiving dinners for poor families in the Washington, D.C., area.
Members of the CUA chapter of the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega collaborated with campus resident assistants in December to collect clothing and toiletry items from dorm residents. Campus Ministry staff worked with the students to sort the donations, which were ultimately delivered to Exodus and Marthas Table, an organization that provides low-income children and teens with nutritious meals and supervised learning and literacy activities in a safe environment.
Many area organizations need and welcome the help of the university community. Other volunteer activities during the holidays included:
St. Ann's Infant and Maternity Home
St. Ann's has long been the recipient of university good will. This year, members of the junior class invited children from the home to the campus Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 1. After the festivities, the children and their sponsors paid a visit to The House for refreshments, games and a visit from Santa.
The CUA chapter of the National Student Nurses Association erected a Giving Tree for St. Ann's, enabling nursing students to provide the children with much-needed items. The association also sponsored a canned food drive.
Denizens of McMahon Hall were asked to bring a non-perishable food items to the provost's Fourth Annual Christmas Luncheon held Dec. 20. The donations benefited So Others Might Eat (SOME). Initially started by an interfaith group of priests, ministers and laypeople as a soup kitchen for the homeless, SOME has evolved into a comprehensive social services provider for the poor, drawing on the resources of local churches, synagogues and civic organizations.
SOME was the beneficiary at the Dec. 1 Christmas Concert at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, co-sponsored by the Basilica and CUA's Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. Audience members donated money during a freewill offering for the organization.
Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care
On weeknights throughout the year, volunteers from CUA can be found helping children with homework assignments or overseeing art or science projects at Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care, an after-school center for children with AIDS in Washington, D.C.
In December, Emmjolee Mendoza, a senior and a resident assistant at Unanue House, rounded up the RAs and residents of Centennial Village to set up a Giving Tree in each village house. Through this holiday effort, 69 children from the center and their families received special Christmas gifts from CUA students.