"I often hear the phrase that college is the best four years of your life, and I couldn’t agree more – four years of living, partying and maturing with best friends. What’s not to like?
But the sleepless Saturday night (followed by the not-so-fun Sunday mornings) have hardly been the highlight of my college experience. I have loved my four years at Le Moyne College not because of the parties or the video games or intramural sports, but because I have made wonderful strides in determining my passions.
I began a homeless ministry project upon my arrival at Le Moyne because of previous experiences I had serving in soup kitchens in Cleveland and Boston. During my time at Le Moyne, I helped facilitate Bible studies at a local homeless shelter; I opened up a drop-in center for the city’s homeless where men and women could swing by the Brady Faith Center – a church and community center in Syracuse’s poorest neighborhood – three mornings a week for coffee, music and good conversation.
Pedal To Possibilities, my passion, is a program that I started which connects the homeless of Syracuse to the bicycle. Three times a week I lead groups of 12-20 of the city’s homeless women and men on a 7-12 mile group bike ride. After completing 10 rides, a participant is awarded a bicycle, helmet and lock. The program has since spread to Rochester.
Growing up in a family that served in a soup kitchen on a weekly basis and strove to include everyone – the homeless, the disabled and the destitute – into our daily lives was an important reason why I began to do service in college. But since I began doing it on my own, the best explanation I can give is that I do what I do because I genuinely love it. I wake up in the morning because I have the privilege to organize a bike ride with a group of homeless women and men. I wake up in the morning because I am blessed to serve incredible people at a soup kitchen. And I wake up in the morning excited to meet and learn from new and diverse people.
My time at Le Moyne College has been new, challenging and just plain fun. But when I look back at my time “on the hill,” it is not the food buffets, the social scene or the movie marathons that I truly value. It is Pedal To Possibilities. It is the relationships I have developed with some incredible Le Moyne students, faculty members and citizens of Syracuse. And it is the discovery and recognition of where my passions lie and what really wakes me up in the morning."
Interviewed by the CMM-401-01 Convergence Spring 2012