Committed To Serve

July 6, 2015


Twenty members of the Canisius College Class of 2015 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 and AmeriCorps.

“Doing a year of service after Canisius makes sense not only in terms of allowing our graduates to get in-depth, hands-on skills in the fields of their choice, but it also is a uniquely insightful year that forces them to ask questions about who they want to be and how their faith and values informs this answer,” says Luanne Firestone, associate campus minister.  “I have seen graduates totally transformed and empowered by what they have learned through serving the poor and marginalized through a commitment to significant post-graduate service.”   

Six 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. Students who will serve at AmeriCorp include:

  • Colin Shanahan, Federal Way Public School Program, Federal Way, WA
  • Joseph Schnitter, AIDS United Program, Washington, DC

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

  • Hannah Burry
  • Michelle DelPrince
  • Leah McDonald
  • Imani Roache

Two young Canisius alumni have committed to serve as members 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. They include:

  • Whitney Butcher, JVC San Antonio, TX
  • Maria Linares, JVC Northwest

Two young alumni have committed two years to Teach for America. They include:

  • Chelsea Elledge, Buffalo Public Schools, Buffalo, NY
  • Kelly Mahoney, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee, WI

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

  • Andrew Coy, Peace Corps, Uganda
  • Allison Braun, Xavier High School, Chuuk, Micronesia
  • Kevin Daley, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Houston, TX
  • Jessica DePasquale, English Open Doors Program, Chile, South America
  • Elizabeth Harter, English Open Doors Program, Chile, South America
  • Nathalia Sacks, Xavier High School, Chuuk, Micronesia
  • Alexandria Salansky, Alliance for Catholic Education: St. Joseph University, St. Barnabas School, Philadelphia, PA
  • Ean Tierney, Xavier High School, Chuuk, Micronesia
  • Alison Tortelli, Lalanne through the University of Dayton, Metro Catholic School, Cleveland, OH
  • Sierra Wilson, Alliance for Catholic Education: St. Joseph University, Philadelphia, PA

By traveling internationally with Campus Ministry and tutoring refugee students on Buffalo’s West Side, I have learned the power of our Jesuit values and I have found a passion for working towards social justice,” says Alison Tortelli. “Committing to post-graduate volunteer program is the avenue that will allow me to work for social justice with others who have similar desires. I chose this program because its shares a similar philosophy and approach to education, and I am confident I will be nurtured and supported through my first years as a teacher.”

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