Called to Volunteer

­­BUFFALO, NY – Sixteen members of the Canisius College Class of 2013 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-graduate service work in various cities and communities across the country, with such organizations as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and AmeriCorps.

“Rev. Peter Hans-Kolvenbach SJ, the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, reminded our institutions several years ago that ‘the real measure of our Jesuit universities lies in who our students become,’” says Luann Firestone, interim director of campus ministry. “By choosing to commit a year of their lives in the service of the marginalized, these students demonstrate that they have a clear grasp of the significance a Jesuit education - an education that not only empowers the student but enables that student to go on to empower the world.” 

Eight young alumni will serve as members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), which 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.

The JVC volunteers from Canisius are:

  • Jennifer Castiglione, STRIVE Program, Portland, ME
  • Tara Cicatello, Nome Radio Mission, Nome, AK
  • Kayla Davis, My Friend’s Place, Los Angeles, CA
  • Alyssa Erazo,  Legal Services for Immigrants Program for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, WI
  • Jamie Hitro, Women Against Abuse, Philadelphia, PA
  • Erin Kelly, Preble Street Programs, Portland, ME
  • Mariel Klein, Joseph the Worker, Phoenix, AZ
  • Dan Radwan, Unity of Greater New Orleans in New Orleans, LA

“I truly learned what being a ‘Contemplative in Action’ means through my participation in volunteer work and Campus Ministry immersion experiences,” says Kayla Davis. “I want to delve further into understanding the complexities of our society and work to help the marginalized. In addition I want to continue living by the teachings of St. Ignatius by giving my heart and soul to help the less fortunate.”

“We live in a world where it’s easy to have a selfish attitude and focus on ourselves, however, I believe our world will fail if we don’t continue to grow outwards,” adds Jamie Hitro. “The Jesuit ideal of men and women for and with others captures this as we should be a world united for the well-being of all. This year of service is a gateway to live in this manner and surround myself with others who will challenge me as well.”

Three young alumni will serve as AmeriCorps members during the next 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 AmeriCorps volunteers from Canisius are:

  • Matt DiStasio, Montana Conservation Corps, Boseman, MT
  • Karen Schuster, Access Alaska Mentoring/Tutoring Program VISTA, Fairbanks, AK
  • Amie Hart, Buffalo Public School System, Buffalo, NY

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

  • Adam Augustyn, Mercy Volunteer Corps, Brooklyn, NY
  • Allison Couche, operationTeach,  Baltimore, MD
  • Kathleen Riley, operationTeach, Frederick, MD
  • Greg Rusch, Magis Catholic Teachers Corps, Omaha, NE
  • Dan Tortelli, Amate House, Chicago, IL

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