As part of the Bonner Community Scholar program, 20 students served together in service throughout the Boston area during spring break.
Bonner Community Scholars served together in service throughout the Boston area during spring break.

Bonner Community Scholars served together in service throughout the Boston area during spring break.

While many of their peers departed campus en route to their various spring break destinations, a select group of Rider students headed north to Boston for a week of bonding and service. Seventeen freshman and three sophomore leaders from the Rider Bonner Scholars Program spent the week of March 17 to 22 engaged in service projects throughout The Olde Towne.

The Rider Bonner Community Scholars program partnered with Catholic Charities and Union United Methodist Church, which provided housing to the group during their stay. The first-year service trip – a requirement for Bonner Scholars – was arranged by Annie Pasqua, assistant director of Campus Life for Service Learning, and Jane Sanchez, coordinator of Community Service. This is the third time the Bonner Scholars have spent spring break in Boston to perform service. First-year service trips have also been held in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

“The focus of this trip is to expose students to different service issues, so they can bring their experiences and newly learned best practices and to the Mercer County and Trenton area,” Pasqua said. “This year’s trip was extremely successful.”

In the mornings, the student volunteers participated in various service tasks, such as    organizing the main supply rooms of food pantries in the Boston area.

Sanchez also arranged a cooperative event with City Year, an AmeriCorps program with a focus on education and mentoring for students in underperforming schools. The first-year Bonner Scholars toured the City Year headquarters before shadowing City Year Corps members during the afternoons at five local schools. The Scholars were given an opportunity to provide academic assistance as well as engage in enrichment activities and games.

“Shadowing City Year Corps members during their service to the community was definitely one of the most profound experiences I had during this week,” Matthew Kolbusz ’16 said.

Pasqua said all the Bonner Scholars will benefit from the unique experience.

“The students were really impacted by the service issues and they grew together as a community,” she said. “I think the sophomore students really grew in their leadership in helping to build that community, as well.”

The sophomore leaders included Chris Mari-Davis ’15, Mary Tella ’15 and Kyler Grigsby ’15.

 In addition to Kobusz, the freshman participants included Darryl Alfonso ’16, Hannah Bass ’16, David Brown ’16, James Butrico ’16, Diamond Carr ’16, Madison Csizmadia ’16, Victoria Interra ’16, Katharine Jaworski ‘16, Akelah Moore ’16, Max Rebhun ’16, Lexus Rodriguez ’16, Lucila Santiago ’16, Muhammad Sarwar ’16, Bre’Quan Simon ’16 and Thomas Szczerba ’16.

The Rider Bonner Community Scholar Program is a community service leadership development scholarship program that exposes members to issues of social justice while providing them hands-on experience to impact their community.