Students, Faculty Serve Warm Hearts and Meals at Mary’s Place Outreach
A group of St. John Fisher College graduate students and faculty took some time out of the busy last week of classes to prepare and serve a warm meal to over 40 refugee children and volunteers from Mary’s Place Outreach in Rochester on April 18.
Each Wednesday, the organization provides a community dinner for children of refugees following their after-school tutoring program. The dinners are held at the Church of the Ascension on Lake Avenue. Each child also received a small wrapped gift as part of the experience.
Sherry Jimenez and Fawzia Fazily serving some of the refugee children.
The idea for the outing of came from Fisher student, Sherry Jimenez. She is a doctoral candidate in the Executive Leadership Program (Ed.D) in the College’s Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education and is also Experiential Education Coordinator at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy.
“While all of us have it in our hearts to serve the community, the Ed.D. Program has truly placed an emphasis on this core value,” said Jiminez. “As emerging executive leaders, it is critical that we put our values into practice, not only in our respective professions, but also in our community.”
Social justice is the conceptual framework of the School of Education, and Ed.D. candidates are encouraged to celebrate diversity, achievement, compassion, knowledge, and service.
Fawzia Fazily, also a candidate in the Ed.D. Program, is completing her dissertation research on refugee children and parents.
“As a doctoral candidate, I want to be a positive role model to children who are still trying to get to know their new country. They need to know that in this country, we all take part in our community regardless of our race, religion, status, or culture. We care about these children, and we understand that adjusting to their new homeland is difficult, but they are not alone in this journey,” said Fazily.
Dr. Marie Cianca, student advisor for four of the candidates who were participating, was appreciative of the richness of the experience for both the student volunteers and the refugee children. She was also impressed by students from John Marshall High School and Northwest College Prep, who were also there as volunteers.
“Our small act of kindness was fully appreciated by the children and the coordinators from Mary’s Place. Equally touching was how much it was appreciated by the high school students, who volunteer regularly to help the younger children in the tutoring program,” said Cianca. “With so much negative news on today’s youth, here are outstanding students who are quietly helping others on a regular basis and doing it gladly without a bit of public recognition.”
Other students and faculty who participated in the event included: Dr. Asim Abu-Baker, Assistant Director of Experiential Education and Associate Professor, Wegmans School of Pharmacy; Wasan Abu-Baker, graduate education student; Karen Bobak, Ed.D. candidate; Shirley Green, Ed.D. candidate; and Debbie Johnson, Ed.D. candidate.
Mary’s Place Outreach was founded in 2009 for refugees of all faiths and nationalities.
Marie Cianca, Sherry Jimenez, Debbie Johnson, Shirley Green, Fawzia Fazily, Karen Bobak, Layann Abu-Baker (daughter of Asim and Wasan Abu-Baker), Wasan Abu-Baker (holding daughter Lamees), Asim Abu-Baker (holding son Omar).