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Vikings Live Out the College’s Mission at Annual Service Day

By November 1, 2023Mission

The Villa Vikings don’t just learn about the College’s mission, they put its sentiment into action. Earlier this month, students enrolled in the First-Year Core Curriculum Seminar were given an opportunity to live out their mission by participating in the College’s annual Day of Service.

“The Day of Service is one of the opportunities we provide our students to live out our Felician Franciscan core values, said Dr. Don Monnin, Villa Maria’s vice president for mission. “This year we are highlighting the core value of transformation. It’s something we wish for all our graduates. We want them to leave here more aware of the needs all around us and that there is something we can do about it.”

Overall, around 200 members of the Villa Community showed up to help make a positive impact all throughout Western New York. The Vikings’ Day of Service was spent in the following ways:

  • Working in the thrift store at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy;
  • Doing light housework at the Little Portion Friary;
  • Organizing and displaying merchandise in the Goodwill Store;
  • Working with students from Riverside and McKinley High Schools through MVP of Buffalo;
  • Organizing donations and assembling furniture with the Goodness Project;
  • Assisting Shiloh Baptist Church with some light yardwork;
  • Organizing the Sunday school room at the Church of Pentecost;
  • Sorting food and other donations for Feedmore WNY;
  • Planting gardens for the Groundwork Market Garden;
  • Helping out the Calvary Baptist Church with various needs.

When the day was done, students were asked to reflect on their experiences. They shared their thoughts with the Villa Community with presentations that were delivered as part of a service learning seminar.

Dyshon Martin, Nathan Farszmil, and Darniell Matthews were amond the students who partook in the Day of Service. The trio visited St. Luke’s, where they helped pack meals for the less fortunate. In their presentation, they wrote, “We arrived ready and set to help the community and that’s exactly what we did. Our classes were split into different sections, all working on different aspects of quality control. Our group focused on condiments and sandwich making.”

Students were asked to consider which of the College’s 5 core values they practiced and what they learned from their community service.

“We practiced two of Villa’s core values: Compassion and solidarity with the poor,” continued Martin, Farszmil, and Matthews. “This whole experience was really humbling. Helping people helps you put yourself in the shoes of the people being helped. I feel this experience helped us become team players with better communication skills as it does require you to depend on the others around you to complete the task. Being that we all worked on different stations to make complete meals, communication was key. It required a fast pace and good communication to make as many meals as we did.”

While the development of new skills is a huge benefit to students, the impact the Day of Service has on them is much greater.

This is what one student recently said after completing the day. ‘I learned not to always think about myself and to try to find ways to give back to my community.’ This is what the Day of Service is all about,” concluded Dr. Monnin