CNR Students Recognized for Educational Service in Ursuline Tradition


Nine students from all four schools at The College of New Rochelle have been recognized for their service to others in the Ursuline tradition, for work they have done on campus, in New Rochelle, the Bronx, and Long Island, and as far away as the Dominican Republic.

The students were honored during a Mass at Holy Family Chapel on Thursday, February 7, which also celebrated the feast day of Saint Angela Merici, founder of the Order of St. Ursula. The awards, given by Ursuline Educational Services, were presented by President Judith Huntington and the students' respective deans.

Shamella Bartholomew SAS'15 was recognized for her work with Campus Ministry. She took part in the beach cleanup on Long Island Sound after Hurricane Sandy, and made sandwiches for the homeless at Trinity - St. Paul's Church in New Rochelle. She also led and participated in the Midnight Run program, which ministers to the homeless on the streets of Manhattan. As a community service intern, Bartholomew helped organize the Special Olympics competition on campus during last spring's Community Service Day.

Bartholomew says her grandmother and great-grandmother instilled in her the desire to be of service to those in need. "Giving a person some warm clothes and something hot to drink goes a long way," she said of the Midnight Run. "We might have saved someone's life one of those cold New York winter nights."

"Shamella's service, cultivated from childhood, brought her to share in the struggles of those in need," said School of Arts & Sciences Dean Richard Thompson in presenting the award. "I'm sure she would agree that she truly received as much as she gave."

Cassandra Castro SN'14 implemented the Mentor-Mentee Volunteer Program for the Student Nurses Association at CNR, providing nursing students with peer mentors. She is also working with fellow SNA members to develop a Student Experience Panel to expose nursing students to career opportunities.

"As a mentor, I feel proud and happy to give my support to fellow nursing students because, having gone through it myself, it is helpful to talk to upperclassmen for advice and guidance," Castro said.

"Cassandra is a creative, strong, and optimistic leader," said School of Nursing Dean Mary McGuinness. "She will be a great asset to the nursing profession and the community at large."

Charlotte Freeman SNR'14 holds the rank of Sergeant 1st Class in the U.S. Army Reserve. She began her studies at CNR in 2011, but was called up to active service and returned to school in the fall of 2012. As a military chaplain, Freeman has recently begun volunteering for a newly created Military Readiness Group, where she acts as a liaison to improve the quality of life for military personnel and their families, helping ease the transition between active and inactive service.

For three years, Freeman has been a board member of the Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Center, which helps with processing SNAP applications; sponsors a Job Fair each month and an annual Breast Cancer Awareness Workshop each October; and offers ex-offenders educational resources and assistance in transitioning back into society. The Center also raised $9,000 in scholarships which were distributed to students in need this spring.

Freeman invited members of the Co-op City Campus to participate in an Advocacy Day at the Center, during which educational services, health care, and other related agency resources for individuals and families were offered. She participated in CNR's annual Community Service Day last April at Part of The Solution (POTS), a leading provider of emergency food, social, and legal services in the Bronx.

"It is a disservice to society not to enable others to reach their full potential," Freeman said. "The College of New Rochelle's School of New Resources has reinforced my belief that helping others cultivate their dreams is worthy of my time. Whatever I can do is just my reasonable service."

"Charlotte is an outstanding student and a role model for her peers at our Co-op City Campus," said School of New Resources Dean Darryl Jones. "She serves our College Community, her military family, and our country in so many life-giving and affirming ways. Her focus on education never waivers. She makes me, and I am sure all of us here, so very proud to know her."

Janice Rose GS'14, Katelynn Grim GS'14, Marnie Herlands GS'14, Amanda Sambets GS'14, Monica Sanchez GS'14, and Akimie Worrell GS'15, students in the Graduate School's Art Therapy Program, traveled to La Romana in the Dominican Republic over Spring Break with four licensed art therapists. They worked with a local nonprofit that serves more than 180 children, conducting art therapy sessions for children and their parents, including activities such as finger painting, mural painting, and jewelry making.

"Their service made a tremendous difference to the community of La Romana," said Graduate School Dean Marie Ribarich. "Some of the children have been sexually and physically abused. They had machete marks on their arms, looked out at life with traumatic blank stares, and suffered from developmental delays. Many are so impoverished that they do not have enough to eat each day."

It was also life-changing for the students who tried to help them. Sambets said the trip opened her eyes to poverty that she had only read about. "This trip reinforced my belief that as human beings we have a great capacity for resiliency, even under the harshest of circumstances," said Herlands. "I feel grateful for this experience," Sanchez said.

"I am in touch with how much there is to do in this world and how I could spend the rest of my life in service to impoverished families," said Rose. Grim agreed, "There was so much we could not do while there. In many ways, we barely scratched the surface. However, the moments I was able to just be fully present, dancing with the kids, playing catch, teaching patty cake, the more I realized this is really the most valuable thing I can give someone."

Worrell said the experience strengthened her desire to become an art therapist, demonstrating that art is an important, universal language.

"It is evident that these six women fervently believe in the power of art therapy in education," Ribarich said. "This service trip greatly benefitted the students and teachers in the Dominican Republic, aiding a community in opening a door to therapeutic exploration of art."

(Photo: Top row, from left: Akimie Worrell, Shamella Bartholomew, Janice Rose, Charlotte Freeman. Front, from left: Cassandra Castro, Monica Sanchez, Amanda Sambets, President Judith Huntington, Marnie Herlands, Katelynn Grim.)