Central Catholic's Marist Mentors Program Honored with Paul W. Cronin Volunteer Service Award
LAWRENCE — The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence recently recognized Central Catholic's Marist Mentors program with its Paul W. Cronin Volunteer Service Award during its annual awards dinner on Jan. 25.
Central Catholic students have volunteered since 2010 to serve as mentors to young children at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence. It began with Michelle Abou-Raad, Class of 2012, a then-sophomore at the high school, who was challenged to carry the Marist call of service “to the least favored” from a Marist Brothers youth conference back to her hometown and develop a project to make a difference in her community.
With assistance from the Central Catholic Campus Ministry staff and collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, Abou-Raad and Anya Housianitis of the Class of 2013, founded the Central Catholic Marist Mentors program. Central Catholic’s students continue to commit time to volunteer weekly there as Marist Mentors to inner-city kids in grades three and up at the Club, serving many hundreds over the last eight years.
“Typically ... the staff at the Boys & Girls Club will match up our CCHS mentors with young children who are facing difficult challenges or circumstances. Mentors have to make a strong commitment to visit with their young mentee three to four times a month to help with homework or tutoring, but also to just hang out, play games and talk about life,” said Stella Gollihur, a senior at the high school who currently coordinates the program.
Elvin Rosa, now a freshman at Central Catholic, was mentored since grade three by Housianitis.
“My life was definitely changed for the better because of my mentor, Anya. Our relationship continues to this day. She is now my best friend,” Ross said, adding, “I now see a world of opportunities I never knew were possible for me.”