22 Members of the Class of 2014 Commit to Service

BUFFALO, NY – Twenty two members of the Canisius College Class of 2014 will dedicate the next year to living simply, working for social justice and serving those who live on the margins of society. The students have committed to one year of post-graduation service work in various cities and communities across the country, with such organizations as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Mercy Volunteer Corps and AmeriCorps.

“We want our graduates to become sensitive to people on the margins as they go out into the world in a variety of jobs,” says Luanne Firestone, associate campus minister. “These unique service experiences open them up to a real human connection with individuals whose lives are completely different than theirs. Perhaps more importantly, we hope that within that distinct reality, our young alumni will learn more about themselves.”     

Nine young alumni will serve as AmeriCorps members during the coming year.

AmeriCorps tutors and mentors disadvantaged youth; fights illiteracy; helps build affordable housing; works to improve health services; manages or operates after-school programs; and helps communities respond to disasters. 

The students who will serve at AmeriCorps Builds Lives through Education (ABLE), in Buffalo, NY; are:

  • Maria Aja
  • Brad Beiter
  • Jessica Bliss
  • Brigette Bragg
  • Rebecca Goggins
  • Nicole Goyette
  • Erica Jackson
  • Kaitlyn Richert
  • Lindsey Lauren Visser

“Before attending Canisius I had never performed community service or volunteer work,” says Rebecca Goggins. “But after participation in Campus Ministry’s Immersion Week during freshman orientation, my eyes were opened and I realized the person I wanted to be was someone who served others.” Goggins will teach students in a Buffalo Charter School. “I now know that the opportunity to work with students from underprivileged backgrounds in a high-risk, urban setting is my calling,” she adds.

Twelve young alumni will dedicate the next year to additional service organizations.  They are:

  • Leah Biddle, Annunciation House, El Paso, TX
  • Kaitlyn Buehlmann, Rostro de Cristro, Guayaquil, Ecuador
  • Liam Doherty, Urban Catholic Teacher Corps, Boston, MA
  • Andrew Genco, Lalanne Service Program, University of Dayton, OH.
  • Kathleen Johnson, St. Joseph University Alliance for Catholic Alliance Program, Philadelphia, PA
  • Mary Maroney, Cristo Rey Jesuit Alumni Volunteer Corps, Chicago, IL
  • Megan Marrano, Lutheran Volunteer Corps, Minneapolis, MN
  • Victoria Niedzielski, Mercy Volunteer Corps, Navajo Reservation
  • Jazmine Robinson, Boys Hope Girls Hope, Detroit, MI
  • Stephanie Schmalz, Amate House, Chicago, IL
  • Alexander Vilardo, Alumni Volunteer Corps, Buffalo, NY
  • Anna Vuich, Teach for America, San Antonio, TX

“Both in my Canisius classes and during my study abroad experience in Spain, I have become aware of other cultures and the struggles of certain communities,” says Anna Vuich, who will teach at a bilingual elementary school.  “Naturally I want to help in any way that I can. I believe that during my year of service I will grow tremendously and learn from people whose perspectives are different from my own. I believe such experiences are the only way I will continue to feel complete as a person.”

One young alumna, Brittany Dorsey, will serve as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). JVC assists  in education, advocacy and direct and community service for low-wage earners, homeless, unemployed, refugees, individuals diagnosed with AIDS, elderly, street youth, former gang members, abused individuals, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and others who strive to find justice in their lives. Dorsey will serve at St. Luke’s Clinic in Camden, NJ.

Canisius is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation, and the premier private university in Western New York.