Marist Student-Athletes donated pumpkins to the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie.
This was the sixth year that student-athletes participated in this event. All donated pumpkins benefit the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie which is a residential care facility home for abused and neglected children who live in the Hudson Valley Region. Last year, the Children’s Home served 350 children and their families.
“The past few years we have donated over 100 pumpkins, this year we expect to have over 150 pumpkins to donate,” said Ali Kenney, the Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Enhancement of the Marist Center for Student-Athlete Enhancement.
The purpose of the Marist CSAE is to provide academic support services that not only assist student-athletes while they attend Marist, but also grooms them for life beyond their college careers. Of the many academic support services that Marist CSAE offers is the Peer Mentor Program where freshmen student-athletes are paired with upperclassmen who are members of other sports teams. These upperclassmen serve as a resource for incoming freshmen and help them to adjust to life as a student-athlete. There are several events that the peer mentors and peer mentees do together, including decorating pumpkins.
“Painting the pumpkins allowed for a great opportunity to bond with our mentees. I really enjoyed seeing how they all came out. It’s nice to do something for the community and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” said Shawna Gilson, a junior peer mentor on the Marist Women’s Rowing Team.
On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Marist CSAE hosted an event where peer mentees and mentors could drop off their pumpkins and watch the Marist Women’s Soccer Game versus Siena. The smell of fall Apple Cider and Apple Cider donuts filled the entire press box and there was a sense of camaraderie present. As fellow student-athletes supported each other, they also came together to showcase their own pumpkins and to see others, all for the well-being of the local community.
“It’s a chance for our mentors and our mentees to get together and decorate a pumpkin together. In addition, we have all of our student-athletes from all sports donate and decorate pumpkins that we donate to the Children’s Home for their annual pumpkin walk which will take place on Saturday,” said Kenney.
“I think that this event is pretty cool because it gets Marist involved with the Children’s Home down the road. It puts Marist into the community of Poughkeepsie and allows us to get involved that way,” said Alexander Hogue, peer mentor and a junior on the Marist Cross Country and Track Team.
The Marist CSAE has a strong relationship with the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie because community service is an integral part of this organization. In 2016, the Mid-Hudson Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals honored Marist CSAE with the “Outstanding Collegiate Philanthropy” award. In addition to this, during the 2017-18 academic year Marist student-athletes completed 2,510 hours of community service.
Marist CSAE organizes numerous community service projects throughout the academic year by running events like the Girls Scouts Sampler, Special Olympics, White Ribbon Campaign, Walk Against Hunger and Valentines for Vets. They also organize volunteering at places like the Mid Hudson Children’s Museum, the Vassar Warner Senior Residence, and local elementary and middle schools.