College of St. Joseph celebrated the achievements of students in the Provider Scholarship Program last week, including the completion of more than 17,800 hours of service to the greater Rutland community.
Community Engagement Coordinator Meggan Lloyd, along with faculty, staff, and friends of CSJ, reviewed the student’s contributions at the year-end workshop on Wednesday, May 3, stressing both the value and importance to both students and the community.
This year’s closing workshop was bittersweet, Lloyd said, because the college is saying goodbye to the first official class of students to graduate through the Provider Program.
The College’s hallmark program was developed in 2013 and is the only of its kind in Vermont. It incorporates a commitment to academic curiosity, personal and professional growth, and community service, awarding students up to $65,500 in scholarship aid over four years. As part of the scholarship requirements, students must complete at least 15 hours of community service each semester, although many students do more than the minimum – 2,116 hours more than the minimum, to be exact.
Lloyd said that students in the program have completed 17,806 hours of service over four years, much more than the minimum 15,690 that were required of them.
She also highlighted the last year of service, which included mentoring through the DREAM program, cooking meals with residents at Dismas House, work at Tinmouth Elementary through their after-school program, Rutland Community Cupboard, Boys and Girls Club, Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter, and many more.
Lloyd read praises from several partner organizations, including a note from Kathy Many, Rutland Intermediate School site coordinator for Everybody Wins!.
“I wish you could see what a difference it makes to a child to have a CSJ student show up for them and spend time with them every week. The RIS children think students from CSJ are the coolest and children who have a CSJ student for a mentor are envied by other children who don’t. These students are helping kids get to school and look forward to school who otherwise might not get there at all.”
Lloyd also read a note from Hanna Snyder, volunteer coordinator at Vermont Foodbank.
“The Foodbank has come to rely on CSJ’s consistent help. Volunteers helped us with a variety of projects such as sorting fresh veggies and fruit, and even cleaning for our AIB audit. However, students mainly assisted us with our Backpack Program. During the year – thanks to CSJ – 2,500 children went home with food for their weekend. This work ensures that kids can be kids, rather than having to worry about where their next meal is coming from.”
The Program undertook its second large-scale service project with the renovation of apartments through Rutland County Parent-Child Center’s POISE program for pregnant and parenting youth ages 16 to 22, who are currently or will soon be homeless.
“Your hard work and dedication to the community and to the human spirit are a testament to the Provider program and the CSJ community,” said Andrew Juettner, case manager at RCPC.
The Provider Program also recognized Karen Reynolds with the Cornerstone Award, which is given to a member of the CSJ community who shows unwavering support for the Program, and junior Sergio Lopes as Provider Student of the Year.