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Bobby Celona

Describe what attracted you to the Meelia Center, and what your involvement has been through Meelia? 

I was a service learner for my Introduction to Nursing Class and the site I chose to volunteer at was the Moore Center. I had such an amazing experience that I wanted to continue being involved. Dan told me that the coordinator position was available for that site and I jumped at the opportunity to become a member on the Meelia Center community. I thought it was a great way to learn more leadership skills and to meet new people on campus. I have been involved with the Teens and Adults Team within the Meelia structure. We did a walk against domestic violence in Manchester together. I also will be participating in the Safe at Home whiffle ball tournament which will reunite a Liberian mom and her daughters after 12 years of separation because of war.

What was the most memorable service experience that you or one of your volunteers has had through the Meelia Center for Community Engagement?  

Last year while I was a service learner at the Moore Center, I had the opportunity to cook for the clients at the site. The other volunteers and I decided to make them tacos. They thought it was the best thing in the world. Some of them joined in to help us out in the kitchen. It was a lot of work to cook for all the clients, but they all came up to thank me and give me a hug which made it all worth it. It made me happy to see them so excited, and it was really something so small. 

How does your work and service through the Meelia Center contribute to well-rounded education?

My service through the Meelia Center allows me to learn things that cannot be taught in a classroom setting. As a nurse I will encounter a wide variety of different people, including people with special needs. At the Moore Center I was able to learn how to better communicate with people with special needs. It also allows me to get involved in the community surrounding Saint Anselm. A lot of people do not know what is going on outside the Saint Anselm community but through service you can encounter this. The Meelia Center bridges the gap between St. A's and the rest of Manchester. 

What skills have you developed through your work at the Meelia Center that will help you realize and achieve your future aspirations?

The Meelia Center allows me to work on my leadership skills, because most of the work I do is on my own. I am the one who has to maintain the partnership and make sure everything is running smoothly at my site. This will help me in the future because one day I may be a head nurse on a hospital floor. I need to be able to manage other people and be able to deal with problems that may come up. The Meelia Center helps me prepare for a leadership role that might occur in my future.  It helps me learn how to communicate better with a wide variety of different people as well. Also, my job helps me learn how to manage my time wisely between Meelia Center work, school work, and my social life.

What impact do the students and your site have on community need?

My student volunteers and service-learners impact the community by helping people with special needs get out of their homes to interact with others. The Moore Center helps their clients learn how to have everyday social interactions and my students help them to practice these skills through engaging and appropriate activity. There are many special needs people in Manchester that without the help from the Moore Center would not have any means of getting out of their house. My students get them out of their house and have fun with them by playing games, teaching them new things or by simply talking with them.

What particular students would you recommend for your site and why?

The students that I would recommend to go to my site would be ones that are thinking about pursuing a job in social services because it allows them to interact with clients with many different mental challenges. The students can then see if that is what they will want to do with their lives. Also, another good group of people that my site might interest would be education majors who want to pursue a career in special education. The site has a program that teaches the clients basic life skills, which is something those students may enjoy. Also, I would say any student that would like to step out of their comfort zone would be the perfect candidate for my site.