November 20, 2013
Alexandra Kleine, a senior nursing student at Mount Saint Mary
College, takes a patient’s blood pressure at Newburgh Ministry’s
free clinic, under the tutelage of Dr. Frank Imbarrato, president
of Christian Medical and Dental Associations – Hudson Valley. Photo
by Lee Ferris.
Lending a hand at the local shelter, teaching young learners
important lessons, and even helping at a free community clinic.
It’s all in a day’s work for Mount Saint Mary College student
MSMC Serves, campus ministry’s service-learning and community
outreach program with campus-wide participation, has been highly
successful since its inception this year.
In addition to campus events such as a coat drive and a
children’s Christmas gift collection, collaborations with Newburgh
Ministry, a local charitable organization, have provided many
Service comes naturally to students like nursing major Diana
Martinez of Garrison, NY. Two times a week at Newburgh Ministry,
the busy freshman volunteers to help with day-to-day operations,
such as stocking the ministry’s thrift store and performing
secretarial tasks. She also enriches the education of young
children through a Saturday morning “Jumpstart” program.
“As a Christian, the spiritual aspect of my life is very
important to me,” she explained. “Every time I help others, I feel
like I’m doing the work of Jesus Christ.”
Mount students also aid the ministry by maintaining social media
outlets, such as the organization’s Facebook page, and doing other
Mount freshman Diana Martinez serves at Newburgh Ministry’s
Including Martinez, a dozen students serve at Newburgh Ministry
on a regular basis: Coleen Jones and her sister, Maggie, of Hyde
Park, NY; Stephanie Weaver of Rockville Centre, NY; Ronald Lawyer
of Garnerville, NY; Annie Nguyen of Brooklyn, NY; Rachael Berglund
of Vernon, CT; Maria Saladino of Campbell Hall, NY; Bridgette Leyva
of Hyde Park, NY; Maggie Leclercq of Danbury, CT; Casey Veneziano
of North Bellmore, NY; and Diana Survilla of West Islip, NY.
“We are thrilled with how MSMC Serves has raised our students’
awareness and participation in service related activities,” said
Alexander J. LaPoint, assistant director of campus ministry.
He added, “Newburgh Ministry has been an invaluable resource in
developing our program. Their flexibility and willingness to work
with us has really made the initiative possible.”
The bond of service between the Mount and Newburgh Ministry
doesn’t end there.
Nancy Owen, instructor of nursing at the Mount, helped launch
free health fairs at the ministry, manned by students from the
Mount’s community nursing courses. Owen and her students continue
to educate visitors about healthy lifestyle choices, at the fairs,
held on selected Saturdays.
“It’s a great opportunity to work with a population that
students might not see in their other clinical placements,”
explained Owen. “Everyone benefits though this kind of
On Thursday mornings, Dr. Frank Imbarrato, president of
Christian Medical and Dental Associations – Hudson Valley,
volunteers at Ministry Medical Link, a free clinic at Newburgh
Ministry. In addition to his duties as a doctor, Imbarrato leads
Mount nursing students at the clinic.
Seniors Alexandra Kleine of Highland Lakes, NJ and Vanessa
Saravia of Mineola, NY, recently spent six weeks serving there in a
community nursing project.
“I’ve learned how to prioritize more effectively, and document
things more accurately,” said Saravia. “Time management was
difficult at first, but this experience has helped with that,
Kleine explained that while applying her nursing techniques, she
improved her patient interaction skills.
“You have to talk to patients about their medical issues, but
developing a trust with the patient is extremely important as
well,” she said. “You should ask about their job, their home life,
and put them at ease.”
The benefit is mutual, said Imbarrato, who had been working
towards creating the free clinic for quite some time. Mount
volunteers, he said, allowed the project to take off.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to partner with Mount Saint Mary
College’s nursing program,” explained Imbarrato, a family doctor
who practices in Monroe, NY. “The students have been an absolute
joy. I look forward to an ongoing relationship with the Mount.”
Also serving at the clinic are Dr. Craig Ammott and Dr. Juan
Vanessa Saravia, a senior nursing student at Mount Saint Mary
College, discusses medicine usage with a patient at Newburgh
Ministry’s free clinic, Ministry Medical Link. Photo by Lee
Colin Jarvis, executive director of Newburgh Ministry, says
local reaction to the clinic has been very positive: Up to 20
patients are seen in the three hours it is open each week.
“And it is needed,” said Jarvis. “It’s one of the ways we serve
The clinic is one way Newburgh Ministry holds true to its
mission statement, which says, in part, to “believe in the dignity
and worth of each person.”
And for the students, service-learning speaks to the heart of
the Mount Saint Mary College motto, “Doce Me Veritatem” – teach me
Mount students have a long history of service with Newburgh
Ministry, including sessions at the organization’s Winterhaven
Sr. Margaret Anderson, OP, Mount Saint Mary College Board
member; and Sr. Patricia Sullivan, OP, professor of mathematics;
are both members of the Newburgh Ministry board.
Sr. Sullivan says the Mount students’ service has made a world
“Anytime I go to Newburgh Ministry, there’s always one of our
students there – on the phone, folding clothes, or teaching local
children,” she explained. “The sisters at the ministry are so
appreciative of the students. They have nothing but the best to say
More than 50 percent of Mount students engage in community
service as part of their coursework, or through club
Students and staff amassed and donated around 2,200 pairs of new
socks to those struggling in Hurricane Sandy’s wake; and a shoe
drive sponsored by the Mount’s campus ministry collected dozens of
pairs of shoes.
In November 2013, students collected more than 75 coats,
sweaters, and jackets, as well as dozens of hats, mittens, and
scarves, to be given to Newburgh Ministry.
“At Mount Saint Mary College, according to our mission, we are
to educate the whole student,” said Fr. Francis Amodio, O.Carm,
Mount chaplain and director of campus ministry. “Hopefully though
this experience of service, it will become part of them. When they
graduate from the Mount, it will be a value which they would
naturally share in their communities.”