Caldwell College held its fourth annual Caldwell Day, a day of service on Friday Oct. 5. Classes were cancelled, non-essential offices were closed, and students, faculty, staff and administration took to the community to volunteer at numerous sites, ranging from churches and inner city schools to environmental sites and senior citizen homes.
The service work included: painting, cleaning, doing crafts and playing bocce ball with the elderly, working as a teacher’s assistant in inner city schools, taking youngsters to the park, moving mulch for environmental groups, cleaning the fire house and fire trucks, and packing at the food bank.
Before heading out they heard a motivational talk from Tibi Mathew, a junior, who has been on several mission trips to different places around the globe including India and Appalachia.
Mathew encouraged her fellow classmates to develop “a heart to serve others” and to “care for something bigger than yourself.” She encouraged them to “be available and God will take you to amazing places.”
Kristin Kelly, a freshman, volunteered at the Essex County Environmental center. There they moved a huge mound of mulch to prepare an area for autumn. It was “exhausting, but gratifying,” she said.
Melissa Pascucci, a sophomore, was thrilled with the chance to volunteer at the Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter in East Hanover where she did administration work for adoptions, cleaned up a room and played with the dogs. “It was wonderful. It was my first time at an animal shelter. I definitely want to go back,” said Pascucci, who wants to become a veterinarian
Romas Tamkrakar, a sophomore, did not stop running and jumping as he played in the park with the elementary school students from Resurrection School in Jersey City. He had advice for those students who might volunteer next year with the children. “Be a kid with them,” he said.
Started in 2009 by President Nancy Blattner, Caldwell Day is a chance for the campus to embrace its Catholic Dominican pillar of service.
“The entire campus recognizes how important it is to give back to the communities that support us all year long, and our students receive the message that it is important to be active citizens. Hopefully, they will take that with them when they graduate and understand that they have a responsibility to give back to their communities,” Blattner said.
The volunteer sites included:
The Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Hillside, NJ
Roseland United Methodist Church
Sacred Heart School, Lyndhurst, NJ
St. Catherine Health Care Center, Caldwell (on campus)
St. Joseph School, East Orange, NJ
Essex County Environmental Center, Roseland, NJ
Christ the King, Newark, NJ
Caldwell Environmental Commission
Our Lady Help of Christians, East Orange, NJ
Newark Renaissance House, Newark, NJ
Kingsland Manor, Nutley, NJ
Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, East Hanover
Marian Manor, Caldwell, NJ
Caldwell Fire Department