Manhattanville Reid Castle In the Spring

Students From Manhattanville College Spend Spring Break Volunteering in New Orleans


Duchesne Center NewOrleans 2014Nicoleta Alea Pennacchia, Jourdan V. Pedone, Matthew Grado, Luiza Vukaj, and Elizabeth Lyons.
Five Manhattanville College students spent their Spring Break in New Orleans, volunteering at a youth center and helping renovate a church and its garden.

Manhattanville’s Duchesne Center for Religion and Social Justice began the annual trip to New Orleans to volunteer at Pastor Randy’s Christian Youth Center since 2007. This year’s participants were Nicoleta Alea Pennacchia, Jourdan V. Pedone, Matthew Grado, Luiza Vukaj, and Elizabeth Lyons all from the Class of 2017. They were accompanied by Craig Donnelly, community service coordinator for the Duchesne Center.

After mending the church’s appearance, the group of students was given a tour of the 9th Ward, a section of New Orleans that was terribly devestated by Hurricane Katrina. The students were amazed that, even though it has been nine years since the hurricane, the conditions of the area were still horribly deteriorated.  Those living in the 9th Ward that the students met asked that they relay the deep need for more student volunteers to keep improving the conditions of their community.

When not helping with renovation projects, the students were treated to tours of Music Village, Brad Pitt’s housing project and the natural charms of New Orleans that were brought back to the city after Hurricane Katrina. In addition, on the last day, the students were able to experience a jazz brunch historic to New Orleans.

The Duchesne Center will be sending another student group of volunteers to New Orleans in March, 2015. Any students interested can sign up with the Duchesne Center beginning in September 2014.