Spring 2012

Marywood Faculty and Students Aid Flood Victims

Immaculate Conception Church in West Pittston, PA, is a place that is recognizable to everyone in the neighborhood. Built in 1959, the church is located between Fremont and Luzerne streets, a tree-lined area that is quaint and quiet. Downstairs in the basement, a group of frantic workers are getting ready for dinner. The faint smell of food lingers, while kitchen noises—banging pans, dripping water and humming dishwashers—echo throughout the space. It's late September 2011, two weeks after flood waters had devastated the region, and displaced families have been gathering in this location for a warm meal and support.

Outside on a nearby street, Dr. Estelle Campenni (on right) directs a group of students. Dr. Campenni, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Marywood, has lived in West Pittston for more than twelve years. Her house, on Philadelphia Street, was spared by the flood—the water coming within four feet of her front porch. Others, however, were not so lucky.

In the days after the flood, Dr. Campenni began organizing some of her students to aid in the recovery, and word began to spread. Almost overnight, she began receiving requests from residents in other nearby neighborhoods. Service, she says, is part of Marywood's mission—an obligation to help others. About 50 Marywood students have helped with the flood relief efforts during the past several months, including members of Marywood's Men's Lacrosse Team and Campus Ministry. Two students—Celeste Celeste and MeghanMaldonado (on left and in photo) and Meghan Coyle (on right) —joined Dr. Campenni to aid in the relief efforts. Coyle, a graduate student studying reading education, said that after seeing the devastation on television, she couldn't just stand back—she wanted to help.

"I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to help, because if this were me, I would love to know that people are out there supporting me," Coyle stated. "As the weeks pass, it is not in the news anymore, and people tend to forget what happened. I would love to see Marywood continue to bring a large group of people here."

"This is the first time I've worked at a disaster setting," Maldonado, a graduate student in psychology, admitted, "but I am obligated as a person of the community to do whatever I can."

When asked what it is like seeing her neighbored nearly destroyed, Dr. Campenni responded with a simple, "It's hard." For months to come, the people in this community will have to rebuild their homes and their spirits. With the help of Marywood volunteers like Coyle and Maldonado, that process may move faster, allowing flood victims to move on with their lives.

"Until students see it, I don't think they realize the impact it could have," Maldonado says. "I'm just one person, but I feel like I helped a lot. If I can help, anybody can."

Marywood established a flood relief fund to assist affected students, faculty, and staff. Donations have been given to the Red Cross.

If you would like to make a monetary donation, please send it directly to the Red Cross.

www.redcross.org | 1-800-REDCROSS | Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

"This is the first time I've worked at a disaster setting," Maldonado, a graduate student in psychology, admitted, "but I am obligated as a person of the community to do whatever I can."

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