GCU students, staff invest nearly 121,000 community service hours
Students, faculty, and staff of Georgian Court University, Lakewood, contributed nearly 121,000 volunteer service hours in the past year to help individuals, community organizations and area nonprofit agencies, including one sponsored by Belmar’s St. Vincent de Paul conference.
The figure was the most recent to be reported by GCU’s Office of Mission Integration, which tracks service hours and activities performed by members of its community. The new figure, up more than 27 percent from 2017 when the campus reported 94,745 service hours, mirrors the university’s dedication to the Mercy core value of service.
“It really demonstrates the commitment of the overall campus,” said Evelyn Quinn, the university’s vice president for mission integration. “We are invested. We talk a lot about our values, but this indicates that we live what we say.”
Earlier this year, the GCU Lions won the NCAA’s Helper Helper community service competition. It was the second year in a row that GCU athletes were involved with more than 20 organizations and logged more service hours than any other Division II organization in the country. Throughout the year, GCU student-athletes invested upward of 13,000 service hours to help others.
Some of those hours were donated to Vincent’s Legacy, the diocese-wide ministry that collects and distributes furniture donations to families in need. Vincent’s Legacy was established by Margaret More and the St. Vincent de Paul conference in More’s parish of St. Rose, Belmar.
Over the course of 10 Saturdays, the GCU men’s soccer team picked up, moved, and delivered gently used beds, dressers, sofas, tables, housewares, and other items to more than 50 area families.
For GCU student-athlete Arturo Sanchez, serving Vincent’s Legacy was unforgettable.
“It makes you realize what you have and that as you grow and extend your arms toward others, you are giving them the ability to grow with you,” he said. “You realize the power you have to make an impact on people’s lives.”
Other organizations that benefited included Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore and area food pantries and school districts.
GCU graduate student Kelly Newcombe spent several weeks living and working in a poor Costa Rican village. The aspiring educator, who also volunteered there in 2014, provided recreation and fitness services and assisted with classroom teaching.
Jo Ann Cummings, an advanced practice pediatric nurse and GCU assistant professor of nursing, is a member of the all-volunteer medical team at Parker Family Health Center in Red Bank. The free clinic serves about 10,000 uninsured people each year, including many from families living on the margins of society.
“Wherever I can make a difference and help out, I will,” she said.