MaryAnne Brown has worked at Niagara University since 1996. During that time, she has participated in the university's employee Day of Service every year that it's been offered.
"I love to volunteer and perform community service because it's so rewarding," said Brown, while dishing out sundaes to patrons of the Heart, Love and Soul food pantry in downtown Niagara Falls. "It gives me a really good feeling after I've done it, so I'm here to help others. But they also help me."
Jason Jakubowski, on the other hand, joined the NU community 36 days ago. The assistant dean/director of residence life spent much of his Thursday cleaning, organizing and setting up the dining area at Community Missions on Buffalo Avenue. Jakubowski's actions speak loudly, but his words also illustrate his embracement of the Catholic and Vincentian mission of his new employer.
"Oftentimes, we are so busy with our careers that we don't take the opportunity to serve the community. This falls right in line with what we do as a Vincentian university," Jakubowski said. "This is a very special day. It's a great opportunity for us to get out and really help others. It's also an opportunity for us to become more self-reflective and certainly be grateful for what we have and what we're able to do for others."
The action of helping others is the pillar of the university's Day of Service, an initiative that reflects Niagara's continuous commitment to serving the less fortunate members of the community.
More than 120 NU staff and faculty members participated this year, lending hands to 23 nonprofit organizations in the Buffalo-Niagara area.
Participating employees assembled at 8:30 a.m. in Clet Dining Hall on Niagara University's campus, where they were treated to light refreshments before dispersing throughout the region to assist organizations with lesser human and capital resources. The participants returned to campus at 1:30 p.m. for an appreciation luncheon.
Institutions assisted by NU employees during today's Day of Service included the Aquarium of Niagara; Canine Helpers for the Handicapped; Carolyn's House; Community Missions of the Niagara Frontier; the Dale Association; the Food Bank of WNY; the Francis Center; the Girl Scouts of Western New York; Heart, Love and Soul; The Magdalene Project; Meals on Wheels; the Mental Health Association in Niagara County; Neighborhood Legal Services Inc.; the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center; the Niagara and Erie County SPCAs; the Niagara Falls Family YMCA; Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center; the Niagara Falls Police Department; Niagara Rehabilitation and Nursing Center; Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara; ReNU Niagara; and the Schoellkopf Health Center.
To read more about Niagara University's commitment to community service, visit http://www.niagara.edu/servicelearning.