Site Spotlight: Hillsborough County Nursing Home

Hillsborough County Nursing Home is coordinated by junior nursing major Jackie Parece. It is a nursing home in Goffstown, only a few minutes down the road from St. A’s. Students work one on one with the residents and even build friendships with them throughout the semester. Volunteers play games like bingo and cards with the Hillsborough residents, as well as accompany them on walks around the facility. Volunteers listen to their stories and keep them company during the day. A few of Jackie’s volunteers decided to share some of their fondest memories at Hillsborough, as their time volunteering comes to an end.cheer

Nicole Landry shares a sweet moment from her time at Hillsborough. “My favorite moment was when I was helping one of the women play bingo and she was having a really difficult time putting the bingo chips where she wanted them. When I helped her one of the other woman told me how nice of a person I was which really made me feel good because I did not think helping her was a big deal but it really showed me how it's the little things in life that matter and how helping people with little things can make them have a better day.”

Jaclyn O’Donnell says her favorite moment was during a goodbye. “My favorite moment so far is one day I was leaving and I said goodbye to the lady I was helping during bingo and she asked me where I was going. I told her I was going back to school and she said "okay, bye I will miss you". It was a good feeling to hear that.”

Lauren Rose states “…my favorite moment so far was going on a walk with a resident because we had finished up bingo and the nurses didn't really have anything for me to do. The man said he wouldn't mind spending some time with me so we walked around his unit and he talked to me for a little bit.”

Volunteering at Hillsborough County Nursing Home is a unique experience. Although the semester has come to an end, there will always be next semester if anyone is interested in volunteering. Working at a nursing home can be difficult, but also rewarding work. Thank you to all the volunteers from this semester who dedicated their extra time to brighten someone else’s day.

Access Academy Presentations 2016

On Tuesday April 19th, the Access Academy presentations were held in North Lounge. Professors from Saint A's, Meelia Center staff members, high school teachers, and Rich Meelia were all in attendance. The event began with guests walking through upper Cushing to admire the student's posters. Access participants stood in front of their works and presented on their topic. Poster topics ranged from Martin Luther King to Frida Kahlo, from favorite poems to computer program coding. Students from each program focused on different topics that were covered throughout the year.


A Humanities student's poster on Martin Luther King

Once the poster session came to a close, students and guests moved into  North Lounge for presentations and a panel discussion. Coordinators  from  each program stood in front of the room and explained their  programs to the crowd. These programs are: Humanities After School,  Computer Literacy, College Admissions, College and Career Exploration,  Environmental Studies, Public Achievement (Students in Action for the  Environment), and Creative Writing. A few students from each program j  joined them as well, and spoke about their personal experience with  Access Academy. They discussed particular projects they worked on, presentations they saw, and programs they created. Their presentations were incredibly touching, as many students shared their dreams with the audience. Some confessed they never saw college as a possibility until joining Access Academy. Others shared that they found new friends and even acceptance with the Academy. Students from Creative Writing stood in front of the audience and recited an original poem. It was moving to see the students come together from throughout the programs to share their knowledge and experience with others.

Some of the posters at the presentations.

Some of the posters at the presentations.

The second and final part of the afternoon was a panel discussion. Select students, volunteers, and coordinators sat in front of the room and audience members were invited to ask questions. They spoke about their individual experience with Access, either from a high school or college student perspective. Audience members asked thoughtful and interesting questions for the panel. One woman asked if the Meelia Center were to add a program into the Academy, what would they like it to be? A female high school student said she wishes there was a program on psychology. She hopes to someday become a psychologist and would love the added experience. Another young woman answered that she love if Access Academy would offer internship opportunities for the students to gain not only educational experience, but professional experience as well.

The panel came to an end at 6pm. Students and guests ate a light dinner and mingled until 6:30. After an exciting year, the Access Academy has finally come to a close for the semester. Access Academy will hopefully only continue to grow with years to come.

Access Academy Profile: Lois and Kevin

On Tuesday, April 12th, I sat down with two students from Access Academy to talk about their experience with the program. Lois and Kevin are two individuals who have recently moved to America. Lois moved to New Hampshire from The Congo less than one year ago and Kevin came to this country back in 2012 from France. Both students are native French speakers. They work with Jennifer Brown, a tutor who is service learning for her French class. She assists the students with their English speaking skills.

The students are incredibly involved with the Access program. Both Kevin and Lois are a part of Humanities After School, a program that teaches students about influential individuals across the world. Kevin is also a part of the Computer Literacy program, and Lois works with Public Achievement. I spoke with them about their involvement in Humanities After School, and they agreed with one another that they have learned quite a lot this past semester. Lois admitted the program has encouraged her to speak up more. She feels more confident in her English speaking ability. Kevin nodded in agreement and told me he felt much more comfortable speaking English around a large group of people. They also agreed that the program has helped them meet new people and has opened their eyes to different opportunities. A few weeks back, Lois and Jennifer told me about the college tour Access took the students on. The tour, along with coming to St. A’s every week, has really heped the students realize that going to college is a possibility for them.

Jennifer, Lois, and Kevin

Jennifer, Lois, and Kevin

I started asking them about their aspirations beyond high school and Access Academy. Kevin humbly admitted to me that life in America can be a bit boring compared to his life in France. However, he does believe the city life is much livelier. He finds math and biology exciting subjects to study in school. They come naturally to him and he finds them simple. He hopes to someday become an engineer. Lois said her favorite courses are math and art. She dreams of become a child psychologist one day and help children who struggle with mental disorders.  These students have big dreams and I believe their participation in the Access Academy program can help them reach those goals.

There are many students like Kevin and Lois who are involved with Access Academy. Each student has a unique background, has their own hopes and dreams, and gets something different out of their program. Every participant has a story and deserves to be heard. As the semester comes to a close, as does the Access Academy. On Tuesday, April 19th the students from each program will be presenting what they learned. There will be a panel discussion with the students and a poster session. It will be held in North Lounge, from 3:30-630.


Dodgeball Tournament Raises Money for Human Trafficking Survivor

Spring is finally here, and the last service event of the semester is right around the corner. The Fourth Annual Dodgeball Tournament is scheduled for April 17th in the Carr Center. The games begin at 10am and go until a final team is named the winner. The tournament is broken into competitive and noncompetitive leagues. Teams have the option to choose which league they would like to play in. Teams are quickly signing up, including a number of teams, clubs, and off campus community groups such as Kids Cafe and Girl Scouts.

This year, the tournament will be raising money to help Nourma (her name has been changed for her safety. Her case is still under investigation), a woman who escaped slavery. She now resides in New York where she attends community college, studying to become a social worker. Nourma and her case worker have written out this short blurb, describing her story: Nourma

"A time for new things, new hopes, new opportunities, in 2015 Nourma considered herself reborn. Originally from South East Asia she grew up a committed Muslim. Her father died after a 4 year struggle with an illness when Lely was still young. Shortly after that Lely was illegally labor-trafficked to New York by a diplomat. Forced to work 14-20 hour days for 6 different families, Lely suffered for 6 years before she finally mustered up the courage to flee for her freedom. Because her trafficker was a diplomat, he leveraged his influence to prevent Lely's passport from being re-issued leaving her vulnerable and undocumented. Mentari, Human Trafficking Survivors Network helped Lely secure her passport and she’s now enrolled in her first year (a life-long dream) at a community college New York. Lely is a Social Work major and dreams of one day being able to help vulnerable young women. Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism and Mentari continue to invest in Lely’s promise and potential, supporting her dreams and investing in her healing. In the meantime, she’s an avid NBA fan with her eyes on Kyle Korver loves traveling in her new home country—in fact, she’s already been able to visit 9 US states and hope to one day see them all."

It is $10 a person to play in the tournament. Sponsorship  is allowed, meaning individuals or organizations can sponsor an entire team to play in the games. If you are unable to play, but would like to help out, donate any amount if possible, or sponsor a player or entire team. Encourage your friends and classmates to participate in this incredible event.

Use our online registration form here to sign up, or sign up in person in the Meelia Center.

RSVP if you're interested in attending (even if you just want to watch!).

If you would like more information on modern slavery, check out the End It Movement. 


The Global Water Crisis

You can go days, even weeks, without food. You can go without shelter depending on your surroundings, and you can do without clothes in many different environments. However, a human being can survive only a few short days without water. That's about two or three days. Water is the most essential component to life, yet almost one billion people do not have access safe, clean drinking water.

The Thirst Project installed a well to access clean groundwater.

The Thirst Project installed a well to access clean groundwater.

The global water crisis is not simply an environmental problem, but a  social justice issue. Here in the United States, where toilets, showers,  and bottled water, are almost always readily available for many  individuals (but certainly not all), it can be difficult to imagine a world  in which water was not so easily accessible. About 663 million people  do not have access to safe, clean drinking water. According to the  Thirst Project, an organization dedicated to putting an end to the water crisis, the average distance someone in a developing country must walk in order to fetch water is about 3.75 miles. This task is often left up to women and children. So much time and energy is lost in the task, many of these women and children do not finish their educations or are unable to get jobs and contribute to their families financially. Collecting one of life’s most basic necessities has become a job in itself.

Countries that suffer the most from water scarcity, meaning there simply isn’t enough water, are located in arid regions such as the Middle East. Do to the dryer environment, the ground water is less abundant. Places that do not have the technology or readily available labor to access clean drinking water are mostly developing countries, many of which are located in different parts of Africa and South East Asia. These are two different, yet equally devastating issues that fall under the broader category of the global water crisis.

Women carry their water supply across an arid desert.

Women carry their water supply across an arid desert.

Due to climate change, another environmental justice issue, water scarcity will grow exponentially. Arid regions will grow dryer. In developing countries, women and children will have to walk farther and farther to reach any source of water, clean or not. According to a study done by the UN based off of the rate climate change is currently affecting the planet, almost half of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030. This includes about 75 million to 250 million people in Africa alone. Many immigrants and refugees living in the greater Manchester area come from regions dealing with this major problem. These countries include Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, South Africa, Libya, Bangladesh, and many more. water stress

The global water crisis is simply that; a crisis. The planet is 3/4's water, yet only about 1% is actually drinkable. Within the next century, climate change will certainly change that number if nothing drastic is done. There are simple ways to be more conscious of this issue, as well as ways to help those suffering.

  • Take shorter showers.
  • Stop buying bottled water, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Recycle.
  • Educate yourself and others on the issue.

These steps will not ensure people across the globe will get clean, safe water, but it will help you be more conscious of this very broad concept. If you are interested in doing more visit: The Thirst Project  The Water Project

If you would like to learn more about climate change, the bottled water industry and how it affects this topic, or are interested in learning more, visit these sites as well:

NASA on Climate Change

NextGen Climate

Food and Water Watch on Banning Bottled Water

Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Sandford

Today's Alumni Spotlight is on 2015 graduate, Ryan Sandford! Ryan talks about his passion for service and what he's been up to since graduation.

Name: Ryan Sandford
Location: D.C.
Occupation: Writer/Copywriter
Major: English
Minor: Communication and Music
Y.O.G: 2015

1. How has service in college affected your life today?

Service at Saint Anselm helped me scrape the surface of what it means to sacrifice “self” for others. I still don’t understand exactly what that means, or how I can truly do that in a sincere way, but SBA and Volunteer work through the Meelia center opened my eyes to how lucky I am—and how close we live to those who are struggling for survival. My perspective on the world was greatly opened by service at Saint A’s. It helped me see two things—the suffering others endure, and the amazing resilience and courage those same people have in the face of adversity.

2. Are you currently serving your community? Ryan Sanford Spotlight

Today, I work for the NGO International Justice Mission, which helps poverty stricken populations on a global scale, working to protect them from violence and trafficking. We rescue victims of violence and slavery, restore them with aftercare programs and social work, bring the criminals responsible to justice, and try to ensure through partnership with local governments that the same crimes do not happen again–that the laws are enforced. I am a writer and am lucky enough to do my dream job—give voice to the oppressed communities around the world who don’t have the chance to tell their own story. I am heading towards two years of Peace Corps service starting in September, and will be moving to Rwanda to teach ESL programs. These opportunities have been a bit of an immersion experience for me, helping broaden my ideas and perspective of what service is in the process.

3. How were you involved at Saint Anselm College?

I volunteered through the Meelia Center to help with Child and Family Services in Manchester, New Hampshire. I also went on Spring Break Alternative my junior year to the Benedictine School for Individuals with Disabilities, an experience that changed my life.

4. What has been your most memorable service experience?

For Saint A’s, it was the Benedictine School. I was helping a young boy who was barely able to control his muscles or his movement. Moving his arms was painful and difficult for him. I didn’t think even care I was there. But I chose to stay and just hope that my love and attempts at being a servant to him would be helpful to him, maybe lift his spirits. Boy was I wrong. He was the one who wanted to serve me, who changed my life. I remember it well. I sat down for dinner across from him. He could barely lift his head. Zach was his name. Zach, with a huge amount of effort, reached over to a pitcher of water and started trying to pour a cup. He was trying to pour me a cup of water. He was trying to serve me. That’s when I realized something. The less people have, the more beautiful they are, the more they get what life is all about—getting through this together and helping those we can, even if all we can do is pour a cup of water. I’ll never forget that cup of water. Ever.

5. How long have you been involved in service and what sparked your interest in volunteering?

I think I always wanted to serve people, but I didn’t know how or why. I just knew that I wanted to help, I wanted to be someone who pulled someone out of a ditch instead of putting them there.

6. What does community service mean to you?

Community service for me, stems back to my service at Saint Anselm and also just a new faith and trust in Jesus that I never had until after I graduated. This idea that we are all family, all loved by God and created for a purpose. Jesus washed feet and walked among the lepers. That kind of love and selflessness and sincere compassion are at the core of what community service means to me.

7. What advice do you have for current students about getting involved in the community?

Go do things outside your comfort zone. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity. Walk into the Meelia center and put your name down for service opportunities. I did once, and it set me on a journey I never could have imagined.

Girl Scouts

"We’re 2.7 million strong—1.9 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world."

Girl Scouts began over one hundred years with Juliette Gordon 'Daisy' Low. She believed in women everywhere and wanted to empower young girls to be the best they can be. She wanted to help girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents through experiences such as community service, cultural exchanges, and games. Thus 'Girl Scouts' was born. The organization grows daily, with over 2.7 million members today. Even with such a large number of members, the organization cares deeply about each individual involved. Any child or adult is accepted into the ever growing movement, regardless of background. Girl Scouts encourages cultural differences. girl scouts

Their mission statement embodies everything it means to be a part of the organization: 'Girl scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.'

Maggie O'Connor '19, coordinates her own Girl Scout troop in Manchester through the Meelia Center. There is a long list of girls anxiously waiting to join a troop, but many parents  feel they do not have the time or energy to start one. So Maggie started her own six week starter troop to show parents just how simple it is to run a troop, and how fulfilling it can be. The girls involved are broken into two groups, either Daisies or Brownies, depending on their grade. Her first meeting was held on March 15th. Maggie is one of 800,000 adults across the globe involved in the organization, each of whom is trying to make a difference in a girls life. There are sixteen Meelia Center volunteers currently working with Maggie at this site.

For more information on Girl Scouts, visit their website here.

YMCA STAY and STRIVE Students Visit Saint A's

A few weeks ago, 70 students from the YMCA STAY and STRIVE Programs visited our campus for a glimpse at the college experience. Senior Kerrianne Marino, coordinator for the programs, talks about their visit.

"ymcaThe YMCA STAY program is Manchester's only program for at-risk middle school students. Students here, as well as the STRIVE program for suspended and expelled students, build social, time-management, educational, and decision-making skills. These students from four different surrounding middle schools came to campus for a morning breakfast and Davison, tour of the college, and an hour long Carr Center game session where we played knockout, soccer, and floor hockey. These teens were amazed at the beauty, and welcoming atmosphere of Saint A's that we've become so familiar with. When given the opportunity, they asked questions about Saint Anselm and college life in general, that many high schoolers wouldn't think of asking. They were worried about the cost, the course load, and the time management that college requires. A few of them told me they hope to come here one day, and were planning on starting a college fund. This was a wonderful experience for the middle school students of Greater Manchester and the student volunteers at Saint A's." -Kerrianne Marino '16.

The END IT Movement: Shine a Light on Slavery

END IT is a movement to raise awareness of modern slavery. 27,000,000 people are trapped in slavery around the world today. In fact, it exists in 167 countries around the world. That’s 85% of the nations across the globe. 55% of forced labor victims are women and girls and nearly one and five victims of slavery are children. end it

The word “slavery” can mean bonded labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. Bonded labor is a common form of slavery and means individuals are born into it. These people are indebted to a system working against them, sometimes for generations. Forced labor means individuals are forced to work with little or no pay. The work is labor-intensive and often under regulated. Lastly, human trafficking is when someone is stolen from their community and moved into a different country or  city and forced to work. These people are often lured under false pretenses, such as promises of money or a better life. People who are victims of human trafficking rarely return home. Each form of slavery is no better or worse than the last.

slaveryOn February 25th, stop by Davison or the CShop to get your hand marked with a red X to raise awareness on slavery. “Awareness alone cannot end slavery, but without awareness, slavery will never end.” By marking your hand with a red X you are saying you will not stand for slavery. You know it still exists, even if you do not see it every day. Slavery is alive and well, but by speaking about it and educating ourselves, we can end it.

Quick Tip: Productivity and Time Management

The drive to finish spring semester strong may begin to dwindle as spring break and midterm quickly approach. Time management and staying productive is something I personally struggle with and I know I’m not the only one. It’s a lot easier said than done to be more productive, but incorporating even a few of these just might do the trick. ideas

  • Sleep: Ah sleep. It’s a beautiful thing. This one is pretty obvious, yet the most difficult. Getting eight hours of sleep every single night is almost impossible, but going to bed around the same time and getting up at the same time is somewhat doable. I’ve found that getting into a sleeping routine not only helps me fall asleep faster, but I wake up a lot less exhausted.
  • Drink water: Caffeine may help you stay awake, but it’s not going to help you focus. Our bodies are mostly made of water, so we need to stay hydrated. If we’re not properly hydrated than headaches, fatigue, even nausea can occur.
  • Write it down: Making lists can seem mundane, but crossing tasks off of is pretty satisfactory. Visualizing what you need to get done and working on one task at a time helps me feel more organized and reduces my stress. Make sure you cross out each task because as you see your list shrink, you’ll be more likely to move onto the next.
  • Turn off distractions (i.e. your phone): I can be in the world’s most perfect study spot, but if I’m on my phone then I’m not getting anything done. Shutting my phone off, even for an hour, really helps maximize my time. It’s a little hard at first, but trust me, it helps.
  • Do something for yourself: Go run outside, take a nap, watch Netflix. Step away from the stress and do something for yourself that makes you happy. Sometimes all you really need is a nice break in order to get your work done.