Rivier University freshmen spent a Saturday helping out at nonprofit organizations throughout Nashua.
A crew of Rivier freshmen were busy spring cleaning at Girls, Inc. in Nashua Saturday morning as part of the university’s Freshmen Day of Service.
Students fanned out throughout the city and raked yards, mopped floors and spruced up kitchens, classrooms and other program areas for agencies such as the Boys and Girls Club, Harbor Homes, the Nashua Soup Kitchen the Salvation Army and the YMCA. According to Rivier, nearly 200 freshmen and 25 upper class peer mentors participated and provided about 675 hours of service to the nonprofit organizations.
While each site received a gentle makeover, students received a fresh look at the nuts and bolts of community service.
According to Bradford Stull, dean of undergraduate studies and interdisciplinary programs, Freshmen Day of Service fosters academic skills, and increases cultural awareness and an understanding of service.
“Ultimately, it’s part of helping them discover where their deepest heart’s desire meets the world’s deepest needs,” said Stull.
Stephanie Thorp, program coordinator for Girls, Inc., was thrilled to welcome about 20 pairs of helping hands to the program’s home base on Burke Street.
“It’s such a great way for the community to get involved,” said Thorp who added the students were not only working hard to clean the building.
“They are really good role models,” she said.
Although students were randomly assigned to work at different sites, Ellysa Carder and Taylor Godin looked pleased to be sweeping and cleaning the floors at Girls, Inc.
“I grew up in Nashua, and I always had great schools to go to,” said Godin, who is pursuing a career in education and hopes to eventually return to one of those schools to teach. “This is just a nice way to give back.”
Inside Girls, Inc. preschool classroom, Angelica Gardella, Kathleen Ribeiro and Taylor Smith, a trio of nursing majors, were scrubbing down countertops and sinks.
“This gives us a feel for what we’ll be doing next year,” explained Gardella who added that, as upper classmen, students can chose were they want to work. All students are required to earn at least one credit in community service prior to graduation.
Riberiro said she might ultimately choose to work in a local nursing home. But wherever she ends up, she said she’ll be happy to help.
“It’s just a great experience,” she said.