DEEP Service SIENA COLLEGE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT NEWS | SPRING 2013
INSIDE ACE RECEIVES $500,000 FROM SEFCU INSPIRE 2013 CONFERENCE AT SIENA ACE’S NEWEST PROGRAM: NEXT MID-YEAR RETREAT PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS 1 | DEEP Service
04 ACE welcomes new staff member, Pam Skripak, to the team
ACADEMIC COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT NEWS MAGAZINE
ACE receives $500,000 from SEFCU for the NEXT Program
515 Loudon Road Loudonville, New York 12211 (518) 782-6886 (phone) (518) 782-5080 (fax) www.siena.edu/ace
08 Student led Inspire 2013 community engagement conference attracts over 100 community members to Siena
PUBLISHED BY Siena College Academic Community Engagement ART DIRECTOR AND DESIGN
Carolyn Holthausen CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jennifer Hunt, Lori A. Barringer, April Risley ’12, Dr. Ruth Kassel CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jennifer Hunt, Carolyn Holthausen, Lamara Burgess, Pamela Skripak, Nicholas Ramundo ’14, Kait Krolik ’16, Claudia Congemi ’14, April Risley ’12, Joanna Bebber '15, Johann Matthews, Pete Cichetti, Emily Patka, Lydie Kengne ’14, Meghan Timmins ’12, Monee English, George Lopez ’15, Kiara Peeples, Dr. Ruth Kassel, Millie Condon ’15, Katie Wells ’14 CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jennifer Hunt, Carolyn Holthausen, Lori A. Barringer, Tony Rivera, Siena Communications PRINTER Silver Griffin Printing and Copying, Troy, NY On the Cover Early March, ACE staff organized a Mid Year Retreat for the Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellows and Bonner Service Leaders Program. During the opening session, program participants were invited to write down their goals for the remainder of their service term on the yellow brick road. 2 | DEEP Service
DEEP Ser vice Contents
ACE Mid-Year Retreat brings service members together for a weekend of bonding and fun
15 Siena Bonner Capstone research projects to be presented at Siena’s Academic Celebration
22 ACE collaborations with community partners
26 Where are they now? Find out about ACE Alumni
Departments ACE News | 04 Undergraduate Engagement | 12 Postgraduate Engagement| 16 Faculty Engagement| 20 Campus-Community Connections | 22 Alumni Spotlight | 26
Message from the Editor Welcome to another exciting issue of the DEEP Service Magazine. We have covered a lot of ground since the last issue, and are so excited to share all of our latest news. ACE has been busier than ever - from the holidays to present day, we cover all that ACE has to offer including some exciting new programs, a new staff member, and more details about our growing programs. This issue covers the development of a brand new program called NEXT, our first Community Forum focused on the future of Albany’s youth, the 2013 Inspire Conference, and many more informative articles which describe in depth the personal and professional experiences of participants of ACE participants. We also take a trip down memory lane and hear from alumni of a multitude of programs. What they are currently involved in is a testament to their hard work accomplished with the ACE office and we are excited to stay connected to them. If you are an alumnus or alumnae of a
particular program and would like to share your story with the DEEP Service Magazine, please refer to our website for submission details.
eye-opening experience for all to enjoy. There are great photos from the event so be sure to check out the article!
A variety of exciting events occurred since our last issue, including a National Day of Recognition in which city mayors across the nation recognized AmeriCorps programs. Over 800 mayors participated and our VISTA program at Hackett Middle School was recognized! We also reflected and rejuvenated during the Bonner and VISTA Mid-Year Retreat, which included the theme of “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”. Be sure to check out our photos from Instagram (#sienacollegeace).
We thank all those who submitted articles, photos or suggestions for this issue. We encourage you to share this magazine with colleagues, friends and community members. The work of community engagement is pushing forward, so please continue to stay connected with us in the future and we will continue to provide the most up to date information about community engagement in our area and around the world.
ACE also hosted the student led Inspire 2013 conference again this year! In partnership with the Bonner Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, college students, VISTAs and community partners came together to focus on best practices in community engagement. The weekend event consisted of interactive workshops, fun social activities, and an all around
Carolyn Holthausen AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
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ACE Welcomes New Staff Member By Carolyn Holthausen Pamela Skripak, M.P.H., is the new Assistant Director of ACE and coordinator of two new programs, NEXT and Connect4Change (C4C). NEXT, funded by a gift from the State Employees Federal Credit Union (SEFCU) provides business consulting services to non-profit community organizations through the mobilization of the students, faculty, and staff of Siena College. C4C links businesses and community partners together through development of high-quality, high-impact projects that maximize corporate community service days and develop sustainable relationships. Before coming to ACE, Pam spent the past 28 years in the field of education, human capacity-building and program
development both in the U.S. and abroad. Most recently, her work took her to the Middle East where she designed and developed a public/ private on-the-job workforce development program and global internship for small to medium-size companies. Pam lists many things that attracted her to this new position including “the strength and clarity of ACE's mission, the tremendous passion of those involved with the ACE office, the opportunity to challenge myself professionally and apply many of the skills I have developed over the years in a new way, and a return to my roots of nonprofit work in the Capital District.” She is excited to have an opportunity to work alongside community organizations “to find creative, empowering, and effective models for service delivery and sustainability.”
NEXT: Academic Community Engagement’s Newest Program By Pamela Skripak On March 12, the Office of Academic Community Engagement announced an exciting new initiative called “NEXT” funded in part through a $500K gift from the State Employees Federal Credit Union (SEFCU). A loose acronym for “Non-profit Excellence, Consulting Services, and Transformation” the mission of NEXT is to facilitate the creation of a renewed, vibrant, sustainable, and consolidated community-based non-profit sector in New York’s Capital Region. The NEXT program will develop highly-engaged consulting teams of Siena students, faculty, and administrators to support non-profit development that emphasizes innovation, consolidation, and solution-oriented collaboration. Consulting services that NEXT may provide include board function, financial systems, HR, marketing and strategic communications, shared services and mergers, and impact measurements.
in the fall semester, with the potential of an additional 3credit internship in the spring semester, and will receive a $1,000 stipend at the completion of the spring semester. NEXT fellows will learn about social justice, organizational partnerships, community change, trends in the non-profit sector, measuring program and organizational impact, evidence-based program development, and other nonprofit best practices. Working alongside a team of experienced and committed faculty and administrators, NEXT student fellows will be founding partners in the the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of the NEXT program, including marketing their services to potential clients, understanding and articulating client needs and goals, and working alongside community partner administration, staff, board and volunteers to identify enhanced organizational efficiencies, and implement innovative, effective and sustainable practices.
The ACE team is currently identifying its first class of NEXT fellows for the 2013 – 2014 academic year. Fellows will commit to a full-year practicum worth 3 course credits
Pam Skripak, Assistant Director of ACE, and Erik Eddy, Associate Professor of Marketing and Management in the School of Business, will lead the program.
Learn more on about NEXT Fellowship opportunities on siena.edu/ace 4 | DEEP Service
National Service Recognition Day By Monee English In appreciation of National Service Recognition Day, I had the honor of acknowledging my fellow Siena College AmeriCorps*VISTAs at Hackett Middle School in Albany, NY. The two VISTAs serving at Hackett Middle School, Justine Rosen and Melanie Iannacone ’12, were recognized for their service and commitment by Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings on Tuesday, April 9th. Attendees of the event included Assistant Principal of Hackett Middle School, David Amodeo, Hackett Middle School students, Siena College AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellows, and Office of Academic Community Engagement staff, including the Director of ACE, Dr. Mathew Johnson ’93. During a wonderful recognition ceremony, I assisted in a button-making activity. It highlighted the Hackett AntiBullying program established by Melanie and her efforts in spreading community awareness of bullying faced by youth. At my work station I mingled with several Hackett students
and watched how they used art to advocate anti-bullying measures. This was not my first time participating in a program pioneered by the VISTAs at Hackett Middle School. This past September I gave a college access presentation to roughly 30 students participating in Justine’s college access after school program. I also tabled for my organization, Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar, at the first “Future Fair” this past March. As an AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellow, it gives me great pleasure to participate in the national service movement and serve communities in the Capital Region along with Justine and Melanie. I appreciate their efforts as well as all those who commit to doing service through AmeriCorps programs.
Happy Holidays ACE’s holiday party was one to remember as the ACE office and friends came together to celebrate the holiday season and spirit. Attendees were asked to bring canned goods as they entered the party, which were later donated to the local food bank. Delectable light fare was provided in addition to a dessert “bake-off ” in which guests voted for their favorite. VISTA Fellow Nicole Passante won with her delicious Oreo truffles. Fun holiday activities such as ornament decorating and picture taking at the photo booth with fake mustaches, bow ties and hats, all kept guests entertained. The main event of the night was the combination of a talent show and “ugly-sweater” runway show. The talent show offered a range of abilities which highlighted beautiful voices of Bonner students, an interpretation of a child finding Santa Claus coming down the chimney in the form of a letter to the child’s mother, and an ACE rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by the Holiday Committee. Afterwards, guests adorned themselves in their best, and worst, holiday sweaters and strutted their stuff to win the audience over. Even Santa had time in his busy schedule to make an appearance at the ACE Holiday Party. It truly was a night to remember! 5 | DEEP Service
ACE Invites Community Members to a Community Forum to Discuss the Future of Albany Youth On March 12, 2013, community professionals, college video stated their vision for the forum, which in essence, administrators, students and faculty, as well as AmeriCorps was to listen to the attendees’ ideas for supporting our members, spent from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Siena youth. It also acknowledged that those in attendance had College for the 1st Annual Community Forum. A project of the knowledge and capacity to address these challenge areas Siena ACE as part of the Bonner and make sustainable changes in Foundation High Impact Initiative Albany. in partnership with the Association The theme for the Community Forum of American Colleges, the day was Following the opening session, was “The Future of Albany Youth” led and facilitated by Siena students attendees were divided into small and attendees spent the day sharing and postgraduate Siena group sessions that focused on the AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows. The key challenge areas. The facilitators their knowledge and expertise in key theme for the Community Forum led the participants in engaging challenge areas. was “The Future of Our Albany activities to encourage discussion. Youth” and attendees spent the day sharing their knowledge and Lunch featured a panel discussion expertise in key challenge areas: after school programs, with Albany County District Attorney David Soares, City of career development, health, high school completion and Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings, City School District of college access, leadership and citizenship, and technology. Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Ph.D., and Capital District YMCA President and CEO The Forum began with a short video featuring members of David Brown. The discussion was moderated by WYNT the community forum planning committee. Members in the Anchor Benita Zahn.
LEFT TO RIGHT: ALBANY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY DAVID SOARES, CITY OF ALBANY MAYOR GERALD JENNINGS, CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF ALBANY SUPERINTENDENT MARGUERITE VANDEN WYNGAARD, PH.D., CAPITAL DISTRICT YMCA PRESIDENT AND CEO DAVID BROWN, AND WYNT ANCHOR BENITA ZAHN, AND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT YALITZA NEGRON ’08.
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One of the highlights of the panel discussion included an emphasis on the role adults play as influential mentors in childrens’ lives.
Based on the results of the voting process, attendees then reconvened in small groups and created action plans which included ways they could collaborate and partner on issues and projects identified during the voting process. At the end of the Forum, each group presented their was able to action plans to the large group.
Following lunch, attendees returned to their original small group sessions As a facilitator I for further discussion and then transcribed their ideas on flip chart witness professional relationships paper. Then, they were instructed to The 1st Annual Community Forum develop, communication working hang up the flip charts in one main successfully allowed for collaboration efficiently, and inspiration reroom where attendees could view all to begin and new relationships to of the ideas discussed during the form. Siena ACE is in the process of cultivated through the level of small group sessions. Attendees posting all the information that was active and passionate participation. voted on the issues they found created at the Community Forum on - Nicholas Ramundo ’14 particularly important by placing an online collaborative website where green stickers on the flip chart paper attendees can go to continue the next to the specific issue areas that discussion. Thank you to all those were discussed. The facilitators tallied up the green stickers who participated this year! Siena ACE looks forward to to identify the areas in which the attendees deemed hosting another Community Forum next year. particularly important.
visit sienacollegecommunityforum.pbworks.com to join the discussion
ACE Receives $500,000 from SEFCU During the 1st Annual Community Forum, SEFCU President and CEO, Michael Castellana, joined Siena College President, Fr. Kevin Mullen ’75, O.F.M., Ph.D., in announcing a partnership to support Siena’s NEXT Program. Castellana presented Fr. Mullen with a $500,000 check, which will allow Siena ACE and the Siena’s School of Business to develop an opportunity for faculty and students to consult with nonprofits to address business efficiency, cross-agency collaborations and outcomedriven program development. During the announcement, Castellana remarked, “SEFCU is excited about the creation of the NEXT Program that will enable nonprofits in the community to gain help with strategic planning, board development, and more.” MORE INFO ABOUT THE NEXT PROGRAM ON SIENA.EDU/ACE
WATCH THE OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ON SIENA.EDU/ ACE
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We Make the Road by Walking Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
Inspire 2013 Attracts Over 100 Community Leaders to Siena College By Jennifer Hunt April 5-7, 2013, Siena College ACE, in partnership with the Bonner Foundation, hosted Inspire 2013, a Siena College student organized and led community engagement conference featuring 4 elective workshop blocks focusing on community engagement projects and issues, a networking fair, and social activities.
planning and mapping, nonprofit strategic planning, resume building, career networking strategies, and other beneficial workshops aimed at building both personal and professional skills.
On day two during the afternoon luncheon, ACE held an AmeriCorps Honorary Ceremony and recognized alumna Over 100 attendees came including representatives from the Meghan Timmins â€™12 from the Siena ACE Bonner Service Bonner Foundation, Program Senior Officer, Ariane Hoy, Leaders Program and alumna Nefisah Sallim from Siena and Program Associate, Josh Blair, as well as ACE AmeriCorps* VISTA Fellows Program. Bonner Service Leaders from Siena College, After the Ceremony, attendees participated in The goal of Inspire Rutgers University-Camden, Middlesex a one hour networking fair with County College, The College of New Jersey, representatives from Capital Region 2013 was to give and Burlington County College. Also in organizations, including those who were attendees the chance to attendance were Siena College AmeriCorps presenting at the conference. The evening VISTA Fellows and VISTA Leaders and local engage in training and concluded with a talent show in which over faculty, administrators, students, community ten acts entertained with dances, skits, poems, dialogue around partners and young professionals. and songs.
The Inspire 2013 opening plenary featured a and pedagogy. screening of The Throwaways, which tells the story of activist filmmaker and ex-felon, Ira McKinley, documenting his struggle to bring positive changes to his community in inner-city Albany, New York. Bhawin Suchak (Producer/Director, Cinematographer, and Editor) and Ira McKinley (Producer/Director) attended the screening and answered questions afterward. One audience member praised McKinley for making the documentary film, citing it as a positive influence for young people who need strong, community engaged mentors. After the film, attendees were encouraged to attend pre-planned social activities, one of them including a more in depth question and answer session with the filmmakers. Day two of the conference featured three workshops blocks with a diverse range of topic areas including life 8 | DEEP Service
Day three of the conference featured one workshop block and the closing ceremony. At the closing ceremony, attendees were invited to share with one another about their weekend experience. They discussed what they learned and what surprised and inspired them. The goal of Inspire 2013 was to give attendees the chance to engage in training and dialogue around community engagement and pedagogy. Siena ACE is proud to say that the conference was a huge success and they would especially like to recognize their students for leading the effort in making Inspire 2013 possible. As leaders of today and tomorrow, Siena ACE credits them for their effort to organize, lead, present, and facilitate during Inspire 2013. The weekend was a powerful and inspiring experience for all involved.
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ACE Staff Organizes a Mid-Year Retreat for Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellows and Bonner Service Leaders By Jennifer Hunt Every year the Office of Academic Community Engagement staff organizes a Mid-Year Retreat to reinvigorate and reenergize their service members doing a year or more of service. It is a great stopping point half way through the year to reflect on the successes of their community engagement work and set new goals for the remaining of their service terms. This year, the retreat took place on March 1 - 2, 2013, and the theme was â€œFollow the I thought the MidYellow Brick Roadâ€?. During the Year Retreat was a opening session, participants were asked to write on a paper great way to combine yellow brick road, scribing words leadership activities of encouragement and and bonding with the inspiration to each other. Some wrote their favorite quotes, a whole ACE family! piece of advice, or a meaningful - Participant phrase to share.
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The rest of the retreat featured more reflection and goal setting as well as fun social activities, including roller skating and snow tubing. Throughout the event, participants were encourage to use Instagram, a popular picture sharing mobile application, to post pictures of their activities at the retreat. Overall, it was a great chance for them to bond with fellow participants and take a break from their normal routine.
Graduate Intern from The College of Saint Rose joins ACE Graduate student, Monica Minor, joined ACE in January 2012 as a Graduate Intern assigned to work on a variety of projects with the ACE administrative staff. She is pursuing her Master of Science in Education with a concentration in College Student Services Administration (CSSA) at the College of Saint Rose, which requires her to complete 300 hours of service over the course of the semester. During her time with ACE, she is working on an extensive assessment project, developing
workshops for the staff, Siena AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows and Bonner Service Leaders, and planning and implementing the ACE Mid-Year Retreat, Community Forum, and Inspire 2013 Conference. Monica was attracted to ACE’s mission because civic engagement and leadership were at the center. She explained, “I have gotten an opportunity to do a lot of disparate tasks but all of them have had civic engagement and leadership at the center. I think that is what drew me to the office in the first place. In my professional life, I am responsible for
youth leadership development; ACE offered me an opportunity to bring my passions together: education, youth and leadership! I think of myself as an educator but not in the traditional sense and CSSA and ACE have allowed me to bring some of this together.” For Monica, this experience has confirmed her passions. The internship is one of the last requirements before graduation. She is grateful to her family and colleagues at work for their support and flexibility this semester. Congrats Monica D. Minor, MS. Ed!
ACE’s Change Makers on WVCR 88.3fm The Saint By George Lopez ’15 The name of our WVCR radio show embodies the type of guests that we have on the show, change makers. It has been a remarkable experience getting to know many of the people who have dedicated their lives to changing their community for the better. The passion that our guests exhibit is contagious, and as a Bonner Service Leader involved in community engagement, I enjoy being the producer of the show. Our hosts, Millie Condon ’15 and Kate Bender ’16, do an amazing job in engaging our wonderful guests in a thirty-minute conversation highlighting their efforts. Anyone who is engaged in their community is invited to be on the show. If you are interested in sharing your story, fill out our survey online at siena.edu/ace.
Come on down to the studio because every change maker deserves to be highlighted!
Logo by George Lopez ’15 and Genesis Saldana ’16
Tune in to Change Makers on 88.3fm every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. 11 | DEEP Service
Undergraduate Opportunities with ACE Grow for Students Interested in Community Engagement Now in its fifth year, the Office of Academic Community Engagement has grown from a small staff with the founding Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows Program to nine staff members and over 200 students and 30 postgraduates involved in community engagement initiatives through our office. This academic year especially, opportunities for undergraduates to engage with the community has grown. ACE now offers a Certificate in Community Development as well as new fellowship and leadership opportunities. Recently, ACE announced the Nonprofit Excellence, Consulting Services, and Training (NEXT) and Community Engaged Teaching and Learning (CETL) Fellowship opportunities for undergraduates to take their community engagement interests to the next level. NEXT Fellows will learn about social justice, organizational partnerships, and community change trends in the nonprofit sector, measuring program and organizational impact, evidence-based program development, and other non-profit best practices. CETL Fellows will work as a team with the ACE office to support and strengthen curricular connections between faculty and community organizations, implement program assessment, develop media and promotional products, and expand CETL programming. Siena College faculty are encouraged to nominate their best and brightest students to participate in these fellowship opportunities.
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The Trailblazers Program Legacy By Lydie Kengne â€™14 This year marks the third anniversary for the Siena College Trailblazers program and also marks a special and exciting moment. This spring, the Trailblazers program will witness their first group of 8th grade students graduate from middle school. Starting at 6th graders in the program, the relationships developed over the past three years between the first Siena Trailblazers and the first North Albany Academy Trailblazers has exceeded our expectations and are continuing to make each of us grow as individuals. To witness the 8th graders graduate from middle school and move on to high school is such a moving and joyful experience. It will open a brand new and exciting chapter in their lives. They have accomplished much and seeing their growth physically and mentally is certainly the best reward for us Siena Trailblazers. It will be difficult to hold back tears as we watch them walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. Their dedication to the program has gained them leadership skills to succeed in high school with a vision for college or any other path they choose in life. The Siena College Trailblazers mission is to reduce the dropout rate while providing an incentive for students to stay off the tough streets of Albany. As this class of 2013 graduates, we wish them well and remain confident that they will follow the trail they have blazed for their success in life.
Peeking into Community Corps By Kait Krolik ’16 Community Corps is a program made for an avid volunteer who is or wants to be active in the community. A member can serve his or her volunteer hours with a number of community engagement programs at Siena. These include the Trailblazers, Girl Scouts, Mentoring Program, Writing Partnership, and many others. To be a Community Corps member, students must submit an application, attend an orientation, log the hours that he or she serves, and attend meetings twice a month. I am enrolled in a 300 hour AmeriCorps term, which I plan to have completed by fall 2014. Upon successful completion, I will receive an education award that can be applied towards tuition or educational loans. I serve my hours with the Trailblazers and Girl Scouts. In both of these programs, I work with middle school children from North Albany Academy, and a few other schools, to
build leadership skills and strong, healthy relationships. I was working and volunteering at these positions prior to joining Community Corps. My supervisor, April Risley ’12, advised me to join Community Corps and I am happy I did. So far, I have gained valuable experiences through this program and at my service sites. I truly enjoy the children I work with and I love to watch them grow. I now have a better sense of responsibility and I understand how one individual can make such a difference in the lives of children. This has truly been a rewarding experience. I look forward to more opportunities of growth in this program.
Siena Bonners Learn the Art of Speed Interviewing By Claudia Congemi ’14 Throughout the year, Siena Bonners participate in professional development opportunities to enhance their skills. This spring semester, one of the favorites was speed interviewing night. It was a great opportunity for the Bonners to experience a real life interview process. The Bonner program worked with Siena's Career Center to create a setting where students could bring in their résumés and practice interviewing techniques. The students participated in group interviews, phone interviews, and other types of interview styles. This prepared them for different settings they may encounter when interviewing for a job. Professionals from a variety of Albany employers volunteered to attend the event and worked with Siena students, catering to his or her major and interests. After talking with the professionals, the students listened to their feedback. They were also given an evaluation sheet which was filled out by each professional who interviewed them. This sheet can be used when preparing for a future interview. The event was a huge success because Bonners learned what is expected of them and how to act appropriately during in an interview. The skills they learned will benefit them in the years to come while they prepare for their future!
Bonner Program Professional Development Opportunities During the Academic Year: Conference Planning Spiritual Exploration LGBTQ Conversations Creating Videos Professionalism Public Speaking Diversity The Education Gap Community Partner Management Team Building and Recommitment Hunger International Perspectives Effective Networking Resume Building Suicide Awareness and DEEPService Service 139Prevention ||DEEP
The Bonner Program Welcomes Five New Bonner Service Leaders to the Program By April Risley ’12 Caylin Dadeo-Winick ’16 As the Peter Young Foundation Work Force Development Intern, Caylin works to link the community for jobs and works with veterans and formerly incarcerated individuals on resume and vocational development in order to gain employment. She coaches and supports these individuals to give them the necessary skills they need to be successful in obtaining a job. Joanna Bebber ’15 As an After-School Program Mentor, Joanna provides academic mentoring and enriching activities to at risk youth after their day at school. She assists with after-school programming, focusing on girls ages 9-12. She is working to build a program based on the growth and changes girls in that age range experience. She creates an environment where girls are comfortable enough to share their experiences and ask questions. Costin Thampikutty ’16 As the College Access Coordinator, Costin works with high school boys individually to see to it that they get the proper knowledge and access to higher education. He helps the students reach their 100 hour community service graduation requirement by finding the right type of service for them. He works to ensure that students learn that community service does not mean just one type of service, a community can benefit from a myriad of acts. TaraMarie Crisafulli ’15 As the Saints Youth Leadership and Cultural Club Coordinator, Tara aims to create an environment whereby students at All Saints Academy feel comfortable to explore opportunities in leadership in diverse settings and among diverse people. She designs leadership development activities to encourage their engagement. Kelly Finn ’16 As the Girl Scout Coordinator, Kelly leads the troop, facilitating activities for community girls to earn skill badges that demonstrate the scouts’ personal development and community-building activities. The coordinator also directs Girl Scout Leaders to ensure that the program is functioning efficiently. 14 | DEEP Service
Bonner Gives Me the Chance to Make Change in the World Joanna Bebber ’15 Coming into my sophomore year at Siena, I wanted to be more active in our community at Siena and in Albany as well. I was already heavily involved with Siena’s Mentoring Program which ignited my passion for enriching the lives of urban youth. During the fall semester, I joined Siena’s Girl Scout Troop 1430, which also allowed me to partake in services directed to at risk youth. As the semester rolled on, I still craved more. I began talking to several friends of mine who are Bonner Service Leaders. It did not take much for me to decide that Bonner was my answer. I began my life as a Bonner Service Leader with the start of the second semester. With the help of the ACE team, I followed my passion at my site placement. Serving at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany After-School Program gives me the opportunity to engage the youth of Albany in their own environment. During my time at the BGCA, I facilitate the S.M.A.R.T. Girls Program. My group of girls, ages 9-12, join me in discussions based on the life changes, physical and emotional, they experience while they grow up. My time with the girls has been enlightening, enjoyable, informing, exhilarating, inspiring, and beneficial in countless ways. I think it is fair to say this is the general impact that being a member of the Bonner family has on us all. Attending meetings, participating in discussions, and serving the community has expanded my horizons in ways that were previously unimaginable. Bonner has opened my eyes to all the chances to make change and improve the world we live in. It is this realization and through my Bonner experiences so far, I have certainly gained wisdom and insights that I intend to use as fundamental values for the rest of my life.
Bonner Senior Academic Capstone Projects Every spring semester, Siena seniors present their research at Siena’s annual Academic Celebration. ACE senior Siena Bonners participate by highlighting their community engagement research projects. Ananda Brinkman ’13 Seeing the Invisible: Public Health and the Homeless Michelle Campbell ’13 Culture Club: Increasing Cultural Awareness Amongst Albany Youth Jensen Daniel ’13 The Triangle Trade: Continuing Problems for Health Care Access In India, Bolivia and New York
Timothy Golden ’13 Building Community Through Research: Models and Methods of Community-Based Research
Chelsea Platt ’13 and Lexis Palma ’13 Holding the Compass: Developing a Trailblazers’ Program Manual
Lindsey Knowlden ’13 Parsons to India: Cultural and Community Awareness
Jahnna Rymer ’13 Second Class Citizens: Contemporary Problems of the Incarcerated
Jacquie Lennon ’13 The Best of the Best: Recruiting, Retaining and Revolutionizing Volunteers
Bernadette Schmidt ’13 Infusion of Passion: Connecting the Youth of Arbor Hill and Health Care
A Highlight of Bonner Community Service Sundays By Katie Wells ’14 This past December, the Siena Bonner Service Leaders welcomed the Siena-North Albany Girl Scouts to campus as part of their monthly Sunday Service series. On one Sunday of each month, Bonners perform service together for a community partner, which is a great opportunity to serve together with an ACE partner. Through this unique opportunity, the Girl Scouts, from North Albany Academy, were able to visit the Siena campus and partake in a variety of winter themed games and activities. The girls, ranging from kindergarten to 11th Grade, started the day with an exciting ride to campus in the Siena bus. They enjoyed a delicious meal in Serra Hall while watching classic holiday movies. Following this, the Bonners led the scouts to the Maloney Great Room where teams of Bonners directed a rotation of activities which included: making snow globes, Santa masks, cards for soldiers, bead ornaments, and holiday trees. The girls also learned about new and exciting winter holidays such as Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas through fun games and activities such as Dreidel-Dreidel, reading Kwanzaa stories, and singing Christmas songs. Before leaving for the day, the girls enjoyed decorating sugar cookies graciously donated by the Girl Scout Council of Northeastern New York. They loved this fun activity and were very appreciative to everyone for making this possible. After this fun day, the girls returned home to
North Albany with fond memories of spending the day with their Girl Scout leaders and the Siena Bonner Service Leaders. For weeks after the event, the girls laughed and joked about the memorable experience they were able to enjoy at Siena’s Winter Wonderland. The girls and their leaders look The Survey Says! forward to joining the Siena Bonners once What Makes again to partake in this Bonners Stay in the fun and unique Program? opportunity. We are looking forward to our In a recent survey second annual Winter conducted by Bonner Wonderland experience Service Leader Jacquie next year! Thank you, Lennon ’13, 93% of again, to our Bonner Bonners responded Service Leaders, ACE that the Bonner Team, and Community program makes them Partners for their a better individual. engagement in the Siena-North Albany Troop 1430 and for making this event particularly special.
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Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA 2012-2013 Winter Cohort Finishes Term By Carolyn Holthausen
From February 2012 to February 2013, The Siena College AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellow Winter Cohort served the Capital Region in numerous capacities. Anna Bradway ’11, Pete Cichetti, Ashley Farrell, Pou Mok and Kevin Sullivan have all completed their service terms and are on to the next stages in their careers. So where are they now? Anna Bradway served at Peter Young Housing, Industries, and Treatment (PYHIT) as Coordinator of the Mentoring Program. Anna is now employed full time as NYSID Employment Services Case Manager for PYHIT. Pete Cichetti served at Siena Research Institute as Coordinator of Community Based Research. Pete is now employed full time at the Siena Research Institute as the Assistant Director, National Assessment of Service and Community Engagement (NASCE). Ashley Farrell served at Peter Young Housing Industries in Treatment as the Volunteer Coordinator. Ashley is passionate about service and recently went on a service trip to Ecuador with her twin sister Hannah. Pou Mok served at Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls (ALCHSG) as the Service Learning Coordinator. Pou is now the Service Learning Coordinator for ALCHSG. Kevin Sullivan served at the Office of Academic Community Engagement as Coordinator of College and Community Partnerships with the Bonner Program. Kevin is now attending Graduate School full time earning his Masters of Public Administration at SUNY Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. We look forward to hearing more about what the team is up to in the future!
!ank Y" for Your Service! 16 | DEEP Service
Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA Personal and Professional Development Trainings This Year: Grant Writing Organizational Skills Time Management Marketing Professional Communication Technology Tools E-portfolios E-mail Marketing for Nonprofits Resume Building Cover Letter Writing Volunteer Recruitment and Retention Budgeting on a Low Income Managing Credit Organizational Budgeting Nutrition Fitness Bootcamp Mock Interviews
Siena VISTA Fellow Community Development and Social Justice Seminar
Throughout the service year, Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellows have been participating in a Community Development and Social Justice Seminar led by Siena College Professor Harden. During the seminar they discuss social justice issues relevant to the Capital Region of New York. The seminar is also used as a time for Siena VISTA Fellows to work on their capstone projects, which is a presentation they will give to their organization at the end of their service term. They will highlight their work and the impact they made to their supervisor, the organization’s board of directors, or other key members they worked with during their term.
Siena College AmeriCorps*VISTA Leaders Hit the Road for 2013-2014 Siena AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows Recruitment! By Lamara Burgess Siena College’s AmeriCorps* VISTA Fellows Program partners with over 20 different non-profit organizations located throughout the Capital District region. Participating nonprofits, whose main goal is to support the community, also provide support to one or more VISTAs at their site. Each winter, the Assistant Director of the VISTA Fellows Program, Yalitza Negron ’08, and the current VISTA Leaders recruit candidates for the following service year. Local colleges and universities provide a great space to recruit qualified candidates who are passionate about social justice and the betterment of their community. National candidates also play a major role in the recruitment cycle as they make up more than 50% of the pool of applicants. This year my colleague, VISTA Leader Carolyn Holthausen, and I had the opportunity to lead the College Tour. To assist with tabling events, a team of VISTAs (James Bulmer ’12, Faith Burns, Justin Devendorf ’12, Monee English, Ashley Farrell, Brennan Frazier, Michael Gioia ’12, Melanie Iannacone ’12, Tom Lombardi, Marie Lovato, Johan Matthews, and Pou Mok) assembled to embark on this recruitment journey with us. During the College Tour, our team hosted an information table at a variety of schools as well as facilitated an information session for people who were interested in learning more about the program. The information session was an hour-long PowerPoint presentation that discussed the history of AmeriCorps*VISTA and highlighted the unique attributes
of the Siena VISTA Fellows Program. With such a large pool of applicants and a disproportionate amount of site placements, competition is inevitable. Candidates are prescreened for basic qualifications and scheduled for preliminary interviews. In order to qualify to be an AmeriCorps* VISTA Fellow, candidates must meet the following criteria: provide proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, have a Bachelor’s degree, and complete a resume, cover letter, and supplemental application to help us get to know them better. As the recruitment season comes to an end, I am reminded of why I initially joined the network of national service members. I am passionate about change. I am passionate about social justice, and overall, I am passionate about the betterment of my community. Candidates who are selected to be a VISTA Fellow gain an amazing opportunity to become a part of a community that works hard to create change for themselves and the people around them.
Our VISTA Leaders Led Information and Table Sessions at Local Colleges Across the Capital Region: The College of Saint Rose Skidmore College Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Siena College Union College The Sage Colleges University at Albany - SUNY
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My VISTA Chronicle Stories Straight from Siena College AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellows
This month we feature Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow Johan Matthews. He reflects on becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA, working as a Coordinator of Development and Assessment at Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, and finding a sense of belonging. During my time as a VISTA, I have come to realize a lot about myself. I have confirmed that I do have a lot to offer in a professional environment and I have learned how my experiences translate into transferable skills; a value I had yet to learn from four years of college. However, what has been most valuable, is the fact that I’ve managed to plot some sort of course through the mine field of live dreams hidden within the confines of my mind. Like many other college graduates I had to find something to do with my degree and I wasn’t quite sure what that would be. It actually wasn’t until my last semester, when I got involved with the public school system in Buffalo, NY by tutoring and mentoring local students at a Chemistry based after school program, that I understood my inclination to work with the community and improve the lives of those I share it with on some level. The experience reaffirmed the value of community I held and offered an illuminated contrast to the luxuries I have had. During the years I spent as a UB student where being on an energetic, possibility driven campus can completely shield and detach one from the true nature of their environment that is often filled with real pain, sorrow and joy. It was 18 | DEEP Service
somberly refreshing, and I decided then, that whatever my means, I wanted the fruits of my professional labor to add to the improvement of this dish. It was during this experience that I learned about the opportunity to join the AmeriCorps VISTA program, which aimed to end poverty. Needless to say, I was excited and somewhat anxious to tackle the issue of poverty in America. Growing up in a third world country I resonated deeply with their mission. How could I make a dent in such a mountain of a matter? Even as an idealistic graduate I was forced to acknowledge the tremendous effort this would take. Looking back now it couldn’t have gone a more personally fulfilling route. After the last four years of my life had briefly culminated into a prompt graduation ceremony at the University at Buffalo, I was now headed to Siena College for my site placement interviews. Barely 24 hours had passed but I was already taking my next step as a young professional. With a warm and uplifting welcome from the Academic Community Engagement (ACE) office, I began my assignment as Coordinator of Development and Assessment at Trinity Alliance of The Capital Region; an organization that I would spend the next year of my life building capacity as a third year VISTA placement. I had entered in this program with the intention of growing myself, both as a person and a professional, in the hopes to ascertain the direction of my highest point of achievement, which, as I read in an article, is the intersecting point of talent, market and value. This point became the end of my aim. I wasn’t quite sure what path, whether that be graduate school or otherwise, would get me there, but I knew it was where I had to be. continued on the next page...
ACE Celebrates AmeriCorps Week AmeriCorps Week is a time to salute AmeriCorps members and alums for their community engagement, thank AmeriCorps community partners, and communicate AmeriCorps impact on communities and on the lives of those who serve. This year, AmeriCorps Week took place March 9 - 17, 2013. Hundreds of events took place across the country. Here is what we did to celebrate community engagement across the country. • • • •
Organized a Hudson River Coffeehouse Panel on poverty in the Capital District. Participated, with over 300 AmeriCorps members, in the AmeriCorps Pen Pal Project. Held a day of service at Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany and Hope 7 Community Center. Hosted a Community Forum on Albany youth at Siena College.
From day one, I felt the support and appreciation of my families in the South End of Albany already facing a year of host agency; by the end of the first week I began to feel a overwhelming hardship, this was difficult news to bear. It sense of belonging. It has since become a second home to was time to act. I began to do something that put me on the me, allowing me the nourishing environment to personally same level as the very families I was aiming to serve: I asked mature and to plant the seeds of change we talk about at the for help. I began reaching out to the other agencies that had ACE office. Its narrative tells an intricate story covering the same intentions as us and found out they too were over a century of rich history woven together by colorful denied, so we sat and talked about ways we can collaborate characters; one thread connecting them: compassion. At to ease the burden and made plans for future years. This Trinity, someone is always being helped or cared for by helped to calm us down for a moment, but the fact someone. No one is left out. Whether it remained that we had nowhere near enough is my supervisor Benna, who toys to give to the families as we affectionately reminds me of a beaver promised. Feeling unsettled, I carried out From day one, I felt the always building bridges and dams, a last minute attempt this time soliciting securing a way to block or get over an from people I knew and who knew the support and appreciation of onslaught of unfortunate difficulty in agency I worked for. It was then that I my host agency; by the end of the life of some poor soul, or our realized the potential of people, because the first week I began to feel super volunteer Cynthia, who reminds pretty soon I was getting all sorts of calls me of a chipmunk always speed and messages from individuals wanting to a sense of belonging. talking and speed walking, on her way donate what they could. We ended up to help someone somewhere. with over 15 boxes of toys. This Surprisingly, I have also become a staple experience deeply reaffirmed the fact that in the office. It is amazing how included you can become in we can do a lot, if we try to help a little. There is a lot we just a few months. During my experience, many people grew can do, but only some we should. Limit your efforts to a taste for my work and I and eventually had more on my those that are helpful, in both your life and the life of the plate than I could ever know I had room for. Even now, community. How far can we go when the burden of eight months into the program, the line of possibility is still inequity is what holds us back from true advancement? A unclear and has only been drawn in reference to my own weight so heavy cannot be lifted by flimsy efforts and if we will. One of the most fulfilling experiences I have had at my truly value society, then it is a duty we hold as individuals, to site was during Christmas season when an anticipated generate the best in ourselves and others. This can only be donation of over 800 toys from The Toys for Tots done by effectively helping one another wherever we may organization fell through tentatively. With hundreds of lack.
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“IT WAS VERY CHALLENGING TO SEE HOW IT FITS WITH SERVICE-LEARNING. THE STUDENTS REALLY TAKE OVER AND IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO CONNECT THE CLASSROOM WITH THE COMMUNITY. IT WAS GOOD TO SEE THE STUDENTS ABLE TO TEACH
“I FELT LIKE WHEN YOU’RE IN SIENA, YOU’RE IN A BUBBLE. WHEN I WENT INTO THE COMMUNITY, I REALIZED THERE WAS SO MUCH MORE OUT THERE. IT WAS A REMINDER TO GIVE BACK.”
- Melanie Lynott, Senior (Spanish, English)
AND I’M VERY GLAD SEEING WHAT THEY’VE DONE.”
-Dr. Lisette, Professor of Spanish
Don Quixote Visits Albany Community Outreach Center Classroom By Millie Condon ’15 The growing innovation of Service Learning in higher education is an ever expanding venture here at Siena College, right into the classroom of Dr. Lisette’s level 450 Spanish Class titled Don Quixote. These students have stepped outside of the classroom and into the Albany Community Outreach Center in downtown Albany. This center, also known as ACAP, provides families that fit their income requirements a variety of services including childcare, a food pantry, career services, housing and energy services, and tax assistance. One of their most well know programs is known as “Head Start” which provides underprivileged pre-kindergarten students with an early jump start on an education. Groups of students from Dr. Lisette’s class visit the head start students of the center to put their Spanish skills to use and teach the children introductory Spanish. They engage the children while
“I THOUGHT IT WAS GREAT GOING INTO THE COMMUNITY. THEY KNEW SO MUCH AND IT WAS GREAT SEEING SMILING FACES.”
- Matisa Barry ’14 (Spanish)
putting an exciting twist to the activities with the unforgettable adventures of Don Quixote. Both the students of Siena and its community partner, ACAP, are beaming with kind words of how they’ve been impacted. With all of the services offered by ACAP, there are a number of ways classrooms can partner up for the upcoming fall 2013 semester. If you are interested in getting involved through volunteering at ACAP or would like to plan a service learning class with them, contact the ACE office. More than 30 Siena faculty members have been trained using the Problem Based Service Learning Model and subsequently in the semesters between January 2009 and today, twenty-seven service learning courses have been taught and approximately 500 students having participated in service learning projects.
“WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND TEACHING THEM THE LANGUAGE HELPED ME TO EXPLORE THE TEACHING SIDE OF SPANISH. THEY WERE REALLY PROACTIVE AND EAGER TO LEARN.”
- Melodi Vinette ’13 (Spanish) 20 | DEEP Service
Community Engaged Teaching and Learning is one of the most effective ways to teach communication, diversity, and leadership. You don’t believe it? Read what students in some of our CETL classes have to say! Community engaged learning inherently teaches students to interact with diverse populations: “There are always people out there that need a helping hand and I am learning how to interact and build relationships with people who are different from me and have more diverse backgrounds.” “Knowing that when I go out in the community I am not the only one that is giving up my time or knowledge but rather the community is also teaching me very valuable lessons about social issues and diversity.”
Students in CETL courses learn valuable professional skills such as communication and teamwork: “The most important thing that I am learning in class is that being involved within the community can benefit the community members as well as myself. Also, it is necessary to use collaboration when working with a group because when more minds are working together, stronger and more developed ideas will evolve.” “I have learned the importance of patience and understanding. Working with children is a new opportunity to see and learn things from a very different perspective than the average class allows.” “This class made me realize that I have to learn about the other person before I can understand fully what they are going through.”
Community-engaged classes give students hands-on experiences that prepare them for the future: “I love that we are doing work that will help a lot of people
for years to come. I know that throughout my life I will remember this because classes rarely use assignments to impact the real world.”
Dake Fellow Program ACE Announces its Latest Academic Offering, the Dake Fellowship The Dake Fellowship is designed to support 2-3 Siena students per year in conducting undergraduate community-based research with a community partner in the Capital Region. The program itself can be divided into three parts: Dake Summer, Dake Capstone, and Dake Fellows (post-grad). We are happy to welcome our first two Dake Fellows this summer! Audrey Sabatini will be consulting with Peter Young Housing, Industries and Treatment with Dr. Ashley Provencher in Economics. She will be doing costbenefit work related to treating low-income people with addictions. Mary Hartwick will be consulting with SEFCU and the ACE office with Dr Paul Thurston. She will be investigating some of the latest trends in nonprofit mergers. For more information on the program please go to www.siena.edu/ace or contact Ruth Kassel (firstname.lastname@example.org). 21 | DEEP Service
Siena Research Institute The Ongoing Partnership between ACE and SRI with the Capital Region Community is Strengthening the Mission of Siena College By Pete Cichetti While the Siena College Research Institute (SRI) is often cited by journalists and reporters for its political and economic polls, few people realize that SRI is constantly utilizing its unique resources to inform the public about many of our community’s most pressing issues. In an effort to stay true to Siena’s mission, SRI has a deep, ongoing partnership with Siena’s Office of Academic Community Engagement (ACE). SRI and ACE have and continue to work collaboratively on a variety of projects to identify the greatest areas of need facing our communities and to inform both the public and non-profit organizations about how to effectively and strategically enhance their service offerings to better serve the community. Last year, SRI and ACE conducted a Community Needs Assessment for the Albany Community Action Partnership (ACAP) where we assessed the quality of life here in Albany County and measured the greatest areas of need facing our region, according to the public. Additionally, the two departments have collaborated on the Civic Health Index, which quantifies the level of “civic health” in New York State; that is, how involved NY citizens are in performing their civic duties (such as volunteering, voting, and attending public forums), and how we can work to increase our overall civic health. 22 | DEEP Service
Since 2009, the Siena Research Institute, in collaboration with ACE, has conducted the National Assessment of Service and Community Engagement (NASCE), which measures a college or university’s overall community impact by evaluating the rate, frequency, and depth of student service activities. The NASCE has gained national prominence and is now recognized as the leading assessment of its kind. With the largest dataset on community engagement activities on college campuses ever comprised, SRI and ACE are continuously providing institutions of higher education with vital and necessary information to help them improve their service opportunities and increase their impact in the community. Data serves as the backbone to assessment and evaluation, which are the driving forces behind progress. The partnership between SRI – a hub of information – and ACE – a hub of active and community-driven students and administrators – is unique in that it enhances the college’s ability to not only continuously gather quality data, but to subsequently utilize that data to take action and bring about real change.
Siena ACE AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellows Program Helps SRI Enhance their Outreach to Local Organizations By Pete Cichetti Since 2009 the ACE-sponsored VISTA program has provided SRI with four exceptional Siena College AmeriCorps* VISTA fellows. Each of these resident VISTAs has facilitated a number of community-based research projects to help enhance Siena’s mission to serve others and improve the community. SRI’s Community Needs Assessment of Albany County was overseen by a VISTA and relied on support from the entire VISTA network to help facilitate outreach and collect and analyze data. The report helped the Albany Community Action Partnership (ACAP) identify the greatest areas of need within the community, and enabled them to allocate their resources more efficiently and serve their clients more effectively. The data from the Needs Assessment surveys was presented at three public forums, which brought active community members and non-profits together to collaborate on how best to solve our community’s most pressing needs. The forums fostered new and stronger partnerships that continue to persist and develop. This past year, SRI and ACE partnered with the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York to help the Girl Scout Council understand how to better incorporate and reach out to minority girls living in low-income areas. After administering surveys to the girls’ parents and the girls themselves, SRI organized a day of observational research, filled with fun activities for the girls and a lot of lively discussion! Utilizing both quantitative and qualitative research, SRI presented the data to the Girl Scout Council and provided recommendations for how best to recruit a more diverse group of girls for their programs. For the past four years the National Assessment of Service and Community Engagement (NASCE) has been administered by each of SRI’s four VISTAs. Each year the project has developed and expanded to the point where the VISTAs have fulfilled their duty and created a sustainable project that continues to grow without the need for their support.
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Mt. McGregor College Initiative Provides Men of the Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility Free Credit-bearing Courses By Emily Patka The Mt. McGregor College Initiative provides free credit-bearing liberal arts courses to the men of Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility. Since the program’s inception in 2010, volunteers have taught more than 20 courses, from religious studies to marketing to precalculus. It is operated from the Academic Affairs office by the Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) Dr. Linda Richardson, and Assistant to the VPAA, Kate Zimmerman. The program has expanded from a relatively small side project to a program that requires more attention. In summer 2012, Dr. Richardson partnered with ACE to bring in an AmeriCorps*VISTA to work on expanding and sustaining the program. As the VISTA, I split my time between the Academic Affairs office and Mt. McGregor. My responsibilities include volunteer recruitment, grant-writing and fundraising, and building an infrastructure to make the program more stable and wellestablished. Until recently, only Siena College faculty friars and professors have taught classes, but in the spirit of sustainability and expanding partnerships, I have begun recruiting volunteers from other institutions of higher education in the area as well. I work with a Siena Bonner, Jahnna Rymer, in order to explore possibilities for student engagement and service learning. Possible future roles for Siena College students are helping to raise awareness about the program and issues surrounding educational initiatives in prison, and possibly volunteering within the facility. The 24 | DEEP Service
Mt. McGregor College Initiative is clearly in line with Siena College’s Franciscan mission of service, and ACE’s mission of community engagement. It is a labor of love; there is no source of steady funding, and instructors teach on a volunteer basis. The incarcerated students are immensely grateful for the opportunity to learn, and the volunteer professors unanimously agree that teaching at Mt. McGregor is a great experience. There is ample evidence that college in prison programs are a highly effective and relatively inexpensive way to reduce recidivism; the nationwide recidivism rate (meaning individuals who are re-incarcerated within three years of their release) is 60%. Many studies of college in prison programs show that the recidivism rate drops to around 20% for those who earn degrees while incarcerated. This should be compelling simply from a cost-saving perspective. It now costs upwards of $60,000 per year to incarcerate one person in New York State. A state that consistently cries budgetary crisis should take a hard look at a system that practically burns money to warehouse people who will be among us again and need support and resources to become productive members of society. 98% of currently incarcerated people will be released from prison at some point. They are our future neighbors, and for our sake and for theirs, we should want to invest in their, and our, futures. continued on the next page...
Academic Community Engagement (ACE) develops and supports academically grounded, sustainable, developmental, multifaceted, community partnerships that connect students, faculty, staff and community members with the needs and assets of the Capital Region and beyond through community engagement. But this is much more than simply a cost-saving measure. The Mt. McGregor College Initiative, and other similar programs that struggle to stay alive despite no public funding and scarce private funding, recognize the humanity in empowering incarcerated individuals. Taking liberal arts classes while incarcerated may seem silly to some who believe that if incarcerated people are getting any education at all, it should be vocational. While vocational education is certainly important, liberal arts education has more value than one might initially think. It improves confidence and self-esteem in individuals who have been consistently told, sometimes explicitly and sometime implicitly, that they are worthless. It fosters critical thinking, awareness of the systems at work in society, and their roles and responsibilities as citizens. It encourages the development of the soft skills necessary to becoming a productive member of society upon release, such as good interpersonal and communication skills. It teaches them how to market themselves through effective writing, an indispensable skill in a brutal job market that leaves many with spotless records, unemployed. Incarcerated people matter. There are a lot of them, and they are human beings, with inherent rights, who are part of our society and deserve the chance to lead happy, healthy and productive lives.
the outside can’t afford it. This is an understandable reaction. However, when we look at the demographics of who is incarcerated, it is generally people who are systemically underserved. Poor people of color are incarcerated at a highly disproportionate rate in this country. Disparities in sentencing based on race and economic status are proven and well-documented. This is not an excuse for the mistakes people have made. There should be restitution for hurt and suffering that people cause others. However, punishing people by warehousing them and putting up nearly insurmountable barriers to selfimprovement helps no one. None of us can say that we have never made any mistakes. Perhaps if we were from a different social stratum, we would not have been forgiven or given a second chance for the mistakes we made. Perhaps we would have been driven to do something in the name of survival that we could never picture ourselves doing in our current state. Perhaps we would be the ones behind bars. Perhaps not. But the 2.5 million incarcerated people in this country are people like us; people who have the potential for both good and bad. We should be fostering and believing in their potential for good; not consistently reinforcing their history of wrongdoing and potential for more.
Many argue that people in prison should be punished and don’t deserve benefits like an education, when so many on
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Siena Bonner Service Leader Alumna Meghan Timmins ’12 Reflects on How Bonner Prepared Her to Be a New York City Teaching Fellow By Meghan Timmins ’12 Just about a year ago, I received my acceptance letter into the New York City Teaching Fellows program for which only 12% of the applicants were accepted. This marked a huge turning point in my life, as I was about to embark on my next journey after graduation from Siena a few short months later. Thinking back on my years at Siena, the Bonner Program is fully responsible for my success and the passion that I learned for service, in particular my time served at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany, New York. It was because of this place that I decided my role in life was to become an adolescent school teacher. The teenagers at the club inspired me each day to be I am thankful that the a mentor, a coach, a cheerleader, but most of all a Bonner Program positive role model that some teenagers do not have the privilege of knowing. All of these characteristics influenced my life in so are required as a teacher and I continue to be that many fulfilling ways as a person daily in my classroom.
person who is committed to helping others and becoming a leader within the community.
As a New York City Teaching Fellow, I am currently a Special Education Teacher at Sheepshead Bay High School located in Brooklyn, NY as well as enrolled in an Adolescent (Grades 6-12) Special Education Masters Program at Long Island University Brooklyn Campus. The goal of this program is to prepare high-quality, dedicated individuals to become teachers that raise student achievement in lowincome communities. Looking back to last year, I never would have thought I would have a full-time job as a New York City public school teacher straight out of college. I am thankful that the Bonner Program influenced my life in so many fulfilling ways as a person who is committed to helping others and becoming a leader within the community. I am proud to say that I have extended my leadership role from my previous home in Albany and now into New York City.
Meghan Timmins ’12 was honored at the Office of Academic Community Engagement’s annual AmeriCorps Honorary Ceremony in recognition of her outstanding work as a Bonner Service Leader. 26 | DEEP Service
2011 Summer Service Scholar Alumna Grateful for the Opportunity to Volunteer with ACE By Kiara Peeples I participated in the Summer Service Scholars 2011 cohort. I was one of three volunteers who was placed at Siena College working with the Civic Engagement Camp (CEC) for high school students, which was run through the ACE Office. Since this was the first year of the camp, we were given the task of developing a marketing strategy, recruiting participants, and leading the camp while in session. Each CEC volunteer was in charge of working with a small group of students to complete a project or task for a community organization. My students were in the Public Health Track and our task was to complete a healthy cookbook for A Village, which is a small grassroots organization based out of the South End neighborhood of Albany, New York. In what seemed to be like a short summer, I developed a variety of skills and ultimately figured out what career path I wanted to pursue after graduating from the University at Albany. It was because of my placement that I was introduced to curriculum development, classroom management, and working with young adults in a subject that I was passionate about. I enjoyed my experience so much that I decided to broaden my horizons and do international service. I am currently teaching in Guyana through the WorldTeach program. I teach about 150 7th grade students about integrated science and about 150 8th grade students about information technology. Upon completing my year of service in May, I will start my two year commitment with the New York City Teaching Fellows Program where I will be teaching Special Education. I am very excited and grateful for my service through ACE. It not only helped me develop professionally but allowed me to learn about myself. I thought I would be Kiara P eeples spending my summer helping others but little did I know they would be teaching me so much about myself along the way!
Where Are They Now?
We caught up with some of our Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow Alumni and found out what they were up to after their time with ACE. Patrick Gruber, Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA Alumnus, is now a Bonner Scholars Coordinator at Carson-Newman University. Nicole Tommasini, Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA Alumna, is now a Program Manager at iMentor in New York City. Julie Comley, Siena College AmeriCorps*VISTA Alumna, Director of Resident and Family Services at The Dutch Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Centre. She completed Master of Social Work. Frank Sylvester ’09, Siena College AmeriCorps*VISTA Alumnus, completing a dual graduate degree, J.D. at Syracuse University College of Law and an M.S. Natural Resources Management from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Ryan Rose ’10, former Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA Alumnus, community organizer with Transition Albany and volunteer at Honest Weight Food Co-op. Sarah Lutz, former Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA Alumna, Volunteer and Logistics Coordinator at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Long Island Chapter.
Update Us! Alumni! What have you been up to since your time with ACE? Click the “Share With Us” link on siena.edu/ace to update us and to join our alumni database! 27 | DEEP Service
In the Next Issue Global Service Internship in Bolivia Students in the ACE Global Service Internship program go to Bolivia this summer. Stayed tuned for their pictures and stories! Civic Engagement Camp Our third annual Civic Engagement Camp is right around the corner! High school students from around the region participate in social justice workshops and do community engagement projects at local nonprofits. Summer Service Scholars A new cohort of Summer Service Scholars are about to start a 10-week term. This is an academic internship program in New York's State Capital. Participants in this program take one class, COMD 280 "Internship in Sustainable Community Change" which examines the root causes of poverty and best practices in community development. New Siena AmeriCorps*VISTA Cohort The 2012-2013 cohort will finish their service term and we will welcome the 2013-2014 cohort at the end of July. In our next issue we will feature our new VISTA Fellows and their service sites.
Look for Our New ACE Program Logos!
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Get Involved! Visit siena.edu/ace for summer opportunities!