Valentines Day Dance Reflections

As the DJ turned the music down and the last guests left the dance floor, the 25th Annual Valentines Day Dance was officially over. The craft tables were full of leftover glitter glue and face paint, the balloon arch stood empty, and the sorbet punch was all gone. While guests grabbed their coats and volunteers took down remaining decorations, everyone reflected on another beautiful Valentines Day Dance.

Each year, the Saint Anselm community welcomes members of Southern New Hampshire's special needs community for a Valentines Day celebration. This year's celebration was held on February 11, 2017 from 1pm to 4pm in the Carr Center. With dozens of clubs running craft tables, plenty of volunteers making decorations, and guests from all over Southern New Hampshire on the dance floor, the celebration was an incredible success for the 25th year in a row.

For some, the Annual Valentines Day Dance is a time to catch up with loved ones. Erin Clapp '17 has been attending the Valentines Day Dance with her cousin Evie since Clapp's freshmen year at Saint Anselm.

"Evie has severe autism among other diagnoses and its not always easy to find things she enjoys to do. Evie and I are very close and spend a lot of time together when I am at home…Evie loves to
dance and sing, so freshman year my aunt and I thought we would give it a shot!" Clapp reminisced. She elaborated on all the memories her and Evie have singing on car rides and having dance parties at home. Evie is a particularly big fan of pop stars like Katy Perry and Kesha, and has attended dance class since she was 5 years old.

"Neither of us knew2017-02-11 14.14.29 what to expect. Evie was very excited about coming to campus and seeing me, but neither of us was sure what the dance was like. She came storming in with smiles and starting jumping in excitement. The music and the atmosphere was so welcoming and she was ecstatic to be there. I was so thrilled to see Evie having a good time and singing and dancing with some of her friends from her own community!" Clapp explained, mentioning that many of Evie's friends from her dance class often attend the celebration.

 

This year, Clapp came to the Valentines Day Dance alongside Evie for their fourth dance together- and Clapp's last dance as a student at Saint Anselm. As soon as the two showed up, they wasted no time. The dynamic pair headed straight to the dance floor where they remained for hours, dancing and singing under all the Valentines Day decorations.

"Every year at the dance is different with Evie. She plans her outfit in advance and always talks about which songs she wants to dance to. I am so glad I got to spend my four years at the Valentines Day Dance with Evie. I know that she enjoys her time at the dance and I will miss being able to share this event with her. It is something that has been very special for us. I am so glad that Saint Anselm gave me the opportunity to bring Evie to campus and share part of my school with her."

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The memories made at the Valentines Day Dance are only possible through the combined efforts of our entire community—both on and beyond the Hilltop. Maggie Walker '17, the Meelia Center's  Service Events Coordinator for the dance, prepared months before the dance to make sure volunteers and guests were ready for the special celebration. Walker accredits the success of the event to the dedication of the Meelia Center's staff, as well as all of those who were in attendance. When asking any given person what their favorite part of the Valentines Day Dance is, they are likely to mention students, faculty, staff, and community members coming together to spread some love. As February comes to a close, the community looks forward to all the years of celebration to come through the Annual Valentines Day Dance.

A Closer Look at the Annual Valentines Day Dance

As February approaches, people often scramble to make plans for Valentines Day or aim to avoid the Hallmark holiday all together. The day intended to celebrate romantic love is often resented by many who would rather spend their day alone. Instead of reserving the holiday for romantic love, the Saint Anselm community works celebrate all types of love on Valentines Day through service and friendship. Weeks before the holiday, Service Events staff and Office Assistants at the Meelia Center begin preparing for the Annual Valentines Day Dance. This year, the dance will be held on February 11, 2017 from 1pm-4pm in the Carr Center. The dance caters toward the special needs community all across Southern New Hampshire. Complete with music, games, craft tables, snacks, cookies, and tons of decorations, the day of love is often equivocal to a prom, a homecoming, or any other special event. Many involved with the Valentines Day Dance agree that it is one of the happiest days of the entire year.

The Meelia Center's Office Assistants will be preparing and celebrating their first Valentines Day Dance in just a few days. Often preforming behind-the-scenes tasks in the Meelia Center, the Office Assistants work passionately to ensure that all service events run smoothly. As Erin Martin '20 works on decorating signs for the Valentines Day Dance, she reflects on all the preparation that goes into the Meelia Center's service events. While Martin loves volunteering at the events, she expresses the value in being involved in with all that goes on before the event.

The OAs are often freshmen looking to get involved in service, and eventually transition to roles with more responsibilities. Becky Rondeau '20 currently works as an OA, and she hopes this position will give her the skills to be a Site Coordinator next semester. Having joined the Meelia Center staff as a freshman, Rondeau speaks about how her experience shaped her first year here at Saint Anselm.

"The Meelia Center definitely opened me up to more people. Especially people in other grades. People often see grade as a limit, but not here in the Meelia Center," Rondeau explains. The Meelia Center has over 80 staff members composed of students from all different grades, majors, and backgrounds. Each staff member is dedicated to strengthening relationships within and beyond the Saint Anselm community.

This Valentines Day, the Meelia Center, the Saint Anselm community, and the larger Southern New Hampshire community will come together for the 25th year in a row to create a day of love that everyone will benefit from.  All are welcome to sign up to volunteer at the 25th Annual Valentines Day Dance, or just stop by to enjoy the atmosphere created by the incredible Office Assistants. Everyone has a place at the dance, even those who typically resent Valentines Day! In fact, the Valentines Day Dance may just make Valentines Day your favorite day of the year.

 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Katie Williams

With finals week quickly approaching you might be in need of some motivation! Take a quick study break to read about Katie Williams' volunteer experience at Saint Anselm and how she remains connected to her community in post-grad life. [Read more…]

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. 

 

Relay For Life

In a few short weeks, members of the Saint Anselm community will come together for the college’s 9th annual Relay For Life. Last year, this all-night event raised over $75,000 for the American Cancer Society. 

Almost everyone has been touched by cancer in some way. Maybe you have personally battled this disease or have a friend, relative or neighbor who is currently fighting. Relay for Life is a night-long fundraiser designed to help remember and celebrate these members of our community and to fight back against cancer.relay

Following an opening ceremony, the night begins with a survivor lap. All of the teams cheer on cancer survivors as they take the first lap around the Carr center and celebrate their strength, dedication and triumph over this devastating disease. Next, the caregivers lap celebrates all of the individuals who cared or are caring for loved one’s through their battle with cancer.

After these two laps, the entire community takes their first lap together, as one big team fighting the same fight and supporting one another.

Many events take place throughout the rest of the night including the Luminaria ceremony, hair donations for Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, birthday cake celebrations and talent shows.

On Friday, April 8th Relay teams will be walking around the Carr Center from 6 PM until 4 AM supporting the fight against cancer. So far, 50 teams (655 participants) have registered for this event, fundraising over $32,000. The Saint A’s Relay For Life Committee has increased our fundraising goal this year because of the amazing success at last year’s event! There’s still time to make a team and fundraise, so if you haven’t signed up yet please consider joining a team today! If you’re still looking for friends to walk with: teams Alpha Phi Omega, Love Your Melon, and Hawks Wanna Walk are all accepting individual walkers to join their teams.

Click Here to learn more about Relay for Life and to sign up to Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back!

What to Expect: Meelia Center's Valentine's Day Dance!

Remember your high school prom?

The Meelia Center Special Needs Valentine’s Day Dance is the equivalent of prom for many men, women and children living with variety of disabilities and who may never attend a traditional prom. This annual service event is one of the most magical events that Saint Anselm has to offer. The reason? Students who dedicate their afternoon to creating a fun-loving environment for each and every guest! Here’s what to expect when you walk through the doors of Cushing on February 13th!

Junior Amy Vachon with a guestAnselmian Hospitality:

This annual service event brings together hundreds of people from all over the area for one spectacular afternoon of dancing, laughter, and Anselmian love. Guests travel from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and even other areas of New England to dance with Saint A’s students at this annual event! We love hosting this event, and sharing our beautiful campus with even more beautiful people.

Anselmian Love:

Student and faculty participation is what makes this event a success. Our guests rave about the new friends they make each year; you will probably leave with a few valentines and definitely new friends!

Dancing:

And lots of it! DJ included – make sure you practice your wobble.

068Crafts:

If you’re not into dancing, sign up to run a craft table! Favorites from the past include face painting, cookie decorating and making valentines.

Decorations:

A giant balloon heart, pink streamers, heart cutouts. You’ll see Cushing Center completely transformed into a Cupid- approved Valentine’s Day scene.

This special service event only comes around once per year so you do not want to  miss this opportunity! Stop by the Meelia Center in lower Cushing or email  ServiceEvents@Anselm.edu for more information.

Holiday Fair is Almost Here!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The Children’s Holiday Fair is almost here! The popular event will be held on Saturday, December 6 in the Carr Center.

Carr Center is filled hundreds of kids from the greater Manchester area, running from craft table to craft table as Christmas music fills the air. The center is decked out with holiday décor, including string lights, tinsel and even a Christmas tree. Santa may even make an appearance.

The Meelia Center Holiday Fair

The Meelia Center Holiday Fair

The Holiday Fair is the largest event the Meelia Center holds during the academic year. Almost 300 children from Bedford, Manchester and Goffstown visit campus throughout the day. There are dozens of tables run by Saint A’s students with activities including a bean bag toss, ornament making and a hay ride through the Carr Center.

Get your roommates, teammates or club together and spread some holiday cheer this December! It’s a great way to get involved, and to give back before finals are upon us. If you’re interested in running a craft table, stop by the Meelia Center and pick up a registration form and select your activity. Meelia has a list of possible crafts, or you can check out pinterest for some fun ideas.

We look forward to seeing you at the Holiday Fair!

2014 Wiffle Ball Tournament

Nadeau’s burgers, Disney music and of course, wiffle ball.

Last week’s tournament was a huge success. Eleven teams came out Saturday to show their support for the Suter sisters and their six amazing kids. Campus groups including the Teddies, Seton, Koinonia and Kappa participated, as well as men’s club soccer, students from the class of 2017 and high-school students from Goffstown.

Local restaurants including Nadau's and Peace Restaurant in Goffstown donated food for the participants, which made the tournament even better. Who doesn't love free burgers and free African rice? Delicious!

The tournament began at ten o'clock, with a short speech given by Dan Forbes to explain the rules and to introduce the sisters. The women told the story of the fire that destroyed their house and almost took their lives and the crowd was moved by their words. It’s easy to forget the reason why we have the Wiffle Ball Tournament because we get so caught up in the competition, but when it comes down to it the tournament is for charity. With passion in everyone’s hearts, the games were ready to begin.

Carr was split into three separate courts, with two umpires at each, along with one score keeper and a timer. The games lasted for half an hour and each inning was 5 minutes long. The games flew by as students slid across home plate, hit home runs and made amazing catches.

The final game was around 2 p.m., and the teams up for the championship title were Club Soccer and the notorious Goffstown High. Team Whiteout (Goffstown) has been playing in the tournament for years now, with our own Yemi Mahoney’s son Dee leading the team. The game was off to a good start with run after run being scored for both teams. Students were sliding across every base, jumping high to make some amazing catches and constantly tying the score. In the end, it was Team Whiteout who won with two points more than Club Soccer.

The Wiffle Ball Tournament was overall a huge success. The students raised $1,500 for the family! Every year the tournament chooses a fantastic local cause, so if you missed out this year there’s always next year!

If you want to continue to serve, mark your calendars for December 6th for the Holiday Fair!

Mountain March for Babies

Next Thursday is the March of Dime’s Mountain March for Babies fundraiser. It is a one mile hike up North Uncanoonuc Mountain, located in Goffstown. Mount Uncanoonuc is the small mountain that can be seen from Alumni. It’s a mild hike, but it’s steep at times. Once you get to the top you’ll have a beautiful view of the greater Manchester area, as well as the mountain ranges in the distance.

Board outside of Meelia & Student Activities

March of Dimes of New Hampshire is an organization made of up volunteers, doctors, scientists and parents, that have worked for over 75 years to improve the health of children everywhere. They fund research as well as trials for the eradication of polio, educating medical professionals as well as the public on the needs for infants and on how to have a healthy pregnancy. For more information on March of Dimes, and all the other causes they are a part of, please visit their website.

Based off of their numbers, 12,874 babies are born in New Hampshire every year and 1,200 of those babies are born prematurely. Another 390 are born with some type of birth defect.  By participating in Mountain March for Babies your donation will help lower those statistics. A minimum donation of $5 is recommended for all who participate.

The donations go to an amazing cause and the fundraiser itself is a wonderful opportunity to see the beauty New Hampshire has to offer, and so close to campus! March of Dimes has made it their mission to work for stronger, healthier babies and you can be a part of that cause by participating next Thursday.

Visit the Meelia Center or Student Activities, both in lower Cushing, for more information and sign up.

 

$1000 Raised at Dodgeball Tournament

On Saturday, April 12, the Meelia Center’s 2ndAnnual Dodgeball Tournament raised $1,000 that will be put towards shipping fees to send out donations to the Amigos de Jesus Orphanage in Honduras! So many students came out last Saturday to support the cause, by either playing in the tournament or just stopped by to watch the excitement.

Our champions with a few of their biggest supporters. Congrats guys!

Teams that played included Seton, Koinonia, Women’s rugby, as well as a few community teams such as Kids Café and Goffstown High. The championship game came down to Kids Café Team A vs. Team Blackout (Goffstown High). It was an intense, but fast game, as players were getting out left and right on both teams. Kids Café is a force to be reckoned with, as they’ve been playing dodgeball every week for years. Goffstown also admitted at holding a few practices of their own, which definitely showed on the court as they showed no mercy against any team.  However, it was Kids Café Team A that came out on top and are the second year Dodgeball Champions! Clearly St. A’s needs to start holding mandatory dodgeball practices before the tournament next year so we can at least hold our own on our own courts.

The Dodgeball Tournament is sadly the last service event of the year, but it certainly was the most memorable. This event is a creative and fun way to raise money for a worldly cause. Win or lose everyone who participates says it’s a blast just to play. So if you weren’t able to make it this year, be sure to sign up next spring and maybe you’ll be our new champions!