Class of 2018 members and older student mentors spent the week before classes serving local community organizations under the Office of Campus Ministry's Dorothy Day Program.

Class of 2018 members JaQueya Jefferson, Amanda Averill and Jessica Loebel spent their Dorothy Day Program service time at Open Pantry's Teen Living Program.

Dorothy Day 2014: Class of 2018 Cultivates Charism

In the week before classes begin, some first-year students are already learning – experiencing the charism of Elms College’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph, by participating in community service work through the Dorothy Day Program.

Under the program, sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry, class of 2018 members and older student mentors serve local community organizations at Dorothy Day service sites such as Open Pantry Emergency Food Pantry, Teen Living Program, Holyoke Homework House, Mont Marie Health Care Center, and The Gray House.

The program is named for Dorothy Day, co-founder of Catholic Worker, who served the poor by providing food, shelter and hospitality to all. The students arrive on campus early, live in the dorms and reflect on their experiences of helping those less fortunate as it relates to Catholic Social Teaching and the mission and values of the college.

Some already have an impressive number of community service experiences.

JaQueya Jefferson ’18 of Brockton, Massachusetts, is an early education and social work student with a passion for helping others. She counts Big Brothers Big Sisters and Cribs to Crayons among her community service projects.

Tacai Dryden ’18, a member of the Elms basketball team, helps babysit younger kids at his church in West Orange, New Jersey, and says “It’s good to help out.”

He was one of a number of students sprucing up the flower beds and shrubs at Mont Marie in Holyoke this week.

“It really means a lot to us,” said Maxyne Schneider ’65, SSJ, president of the Sisters of St. Joseph said of the students helping out at Mont Marie, the SSJs former residence. “Many sisters here have a connection to Elms, and to see the presence of Elms students is such a good thing.”

Nicole Lussier, director of the Open Pantry Teen Parent Program, echoed that sentiment. “They help us with the really important work we can’t get to,” she said. “Every year I look forward so much to having the students – they do so much in four days.”

Dorothy Day Program 2014 photo gallery on Facebook.