Holy Cross Celebrates Worcester Partnerships at Community Partner Appreciation Reception

Staff, faculty and students gather at Polar Park to thank local organizations for their support

On Wednesday, Oct. 6, College of the Holy Cross hosted its annual Community Partner Appreciation Reception at Polar Park, an event to celebrate the many partnerships the College shares with local organizations in the City of Worcester.

The reception was an opportunity for staff, faculty and students to thank the people responsible for hosting students in engaging internships, academic research, community-based learning, community service work-study and volunteer opportunities throughout the year, and thus allowing them to serve, engage and appreciate the community and Worcester.

Sponsored by the College's Community Engagement Committee, the event featured welcome remarks from Holy Cross President Vincent Rougeau, as well as impact statements from students Sabrina Ramos '22 and Lauren Vitelli '22.

Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD) leader Lauren Vitelli, a psychology major,  spoke about the personal growth she has experienced since engaging in the Worcester community. "Teaching definitely requires stepping outside of your comfort zone…Volunteering at the Marie Anne Center gave me a supportive environment where I could become more outgoing. It is an experience that has played a big role in my ability to stand before you all today and speak."

A senior pursuing a degree in psychology and anthropology, Sabrina Ramos is currently serving as the co-executive director of Working for Worcester, an initiative dedicated to mobilizing college students to improve recreation infrastructure and opportunities within neighborhoods across the city, which was founded in 2012 by Holy Cross students.

Ramos, who has been involved with Working for Worcester since her freshman year, said that she first discovered the initiative through her sister Karina Ramos '20, a former executive director herself, who encouraged her to get involved.

"Though my hometown is only 40 minutes away from Worcester, prior to coming to Holy Cross I have never had the opportunity to immerse myself or really get to know this city," said Ramos. "Community engagement has been really important to me because it makes me feel connected to Worcester in a way that I can't experience just by being on campus."

At the Assumption Center, a ministry of the Religious of the Assumption in service to the people of Worcester's Main South and Columbus Park neighborhoods, Holy Cross students have been involved in the after-school Mentoring program, ESOL classes and Girls with DREAM programs for the past 25 years. And according to the Center's Director of Vocation and Volunteer Ministry Sandra Piwko, these programs rely heavily on the support of student volunteers from the College.

"We could not provide these programs without Holy Cross students, and we know we can always count on their faithful dedication to the program they choose to serve in," said Piwko.

Holy Cross President Vincent Rougeau summed up the feelings of many event attendees, expressing appreciation to community partners for their work in the city, and for their generosity in hosting Holy Cross students throughout the year.

"As president, I look forward to building on the College's existing community engagement programs and opportunities for all members of the Holy Cross community," said Rougeau. "We all have a vested interest in Worcester's success. Worcester is our home. Holy Cross has been part of this city's history for 178 years, and we plan to be a part of it for many years to come."

Learn more about Holy Cross' institutional initiatives and partnerships impacting the community and the City of Worcester.