FIRST Arrivals of The University of Scranton’s Class of 2019 Volunteer at Area Nonprofit Organizations

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Forty-one students from The University of Scranton’s class of 2019 arrived before the start of fall semester classes in order to volunteer at area nonprofit organizations. These students are participants of FIRST (Freshmen Involved in Reflective Service Together), a service immersion program now in its 13th year at Scranton.

FIRST participant and incoming freshman neuroscience major Vinny Murali from Kingston fully intends to volunteer while at the University. “This is a way for me to find out about some of the volunteer opportunities in the Scranton area,” he said.

Murali and other FIRST participants will volunteer at the United Neighborhood Center’s Belleview Center, the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania, St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen, the Friends of the Poor Warehouse, and The Greenhouse on Arthur Avenue from Tuesday, Aug. 21, through Friday, Aug. 24. Each evening the students will meet as a group at the University’s Retreat Center at Chapman Lake to reflect on themes of social justice and spirituality.

The incoming students – who have already volunteered extensively during their high school careers – will now join a University community that has earned national accolades for its commitment to service.

According to Pat Vaccaro, director of The Office of Campus Ministries/Center for Service and Social Justice at the University, more than 2,850 University students volunteer annually through numerous programs offered by nonprofit organizations locally, nationally and internationally, as well as though service programs organized through her office at the University. Scranton is among just 361 colleges in America to achieve Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University was also named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

Many of the FIRST participants will also volunteer with their classmates on Sunday, Aug. 23, for the Back to School Bonanza. The event is offered free of charge to area children and their families from 2 to 4 p.m. at Lackawanna County Courthouse Square. It includes include face-painting, music, crafts, refreshments, prizes and other family-oriented activities and educational games. It is part of the University’s Fall Welcome activities for its Class of 2019.

FIRST participants won’t have long to rest after all this service . . . their first day of classes begins on Monday.

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Digital image:

FIRST participant Anna Terry (right), a nursing major from New Milford, Connecticut, and Elyssa Lamarca, 8, a soon-to-be third grade student from Scranton, show off their origami artwork at the United Neighborhood Center’s Belleview Center. Terry was among 41 incoming University of Scranton students participating in FIRST (Freshmen Involved in Reflective Service Together), a service immersion program.