Monroe College’s recent donation of $2,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Rochelle was the latest in a string of contributions and community service programs that the nearly 80-year-old private college has made to this New Rochelle institution.
This past September, Monroe reinstituted the Monroe Mile, a fun run and walk held in conjunction with its annual Homecoming Week celebrations. Approximately 200 runners, including Monroe College President Stephen Jerome, participated in the fundraiser ear-marked to support Boys & Girls Club activities. The college matched the money raised.
“We should start thinking about what to do with this $2,000 now that the holidays are coming up,” Quay Watkins, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle, told the representative group of children who were invited to accept the donation presented by Leslie Jerome, director of Alumni Relations for Monroe College and organizer of the Monroe Mile. Jerome encouraged the children to plan on participating in the Monroe Mile in 2013. “The more participants that we have, the more money we will raise and the more we will be able to contribute to the Boys & Girls Club, one of our most favorite local institutions because it embraces the same mission that we have, ‘changing people’s lives’.”
Watkins noted other programs that Monroe students and staff have participated in at the Boys & Girls Club, “providing programs that we couldn’t run without their assistance.” Currently, an after-school tutoring and mentoring program is staffed primarily by Monroe College work-study students. Jerome added that, “Although Monroe is now comprised of students from more than 50 countries and 20 states, as our enrollment has grown to more than 7,000, we have never lost sight of our founders’ commitment to giving students, especially from the Tri-State region, access to an affordable, quality education characterized by a lot of individualized attention. Just like the Boys & Girls Club, our heart and soul are still very local.”
In addition to the after-school homework help program, Monroe students who are members of ENACTUS, an international student organization, have taught a financial literacy program to Boys & Girls Club members, as well as to other New Rochelle community organizations. Acting as “financial advisors”, ENACTUS members help explain the ups and downs of the stock market, doling out play money to the young tycoons to buy and sell stocks, virtually, while learning first-hand the financial risks and opportunities of investing in Wall Street.
In 2011, Monroe ENACTUS members secured a grant from the Lowe’s chain of home improvement stores, a national corporate underwriter of the organization (previously known as Students In Free Enterprise) to help underwrite the renovation of one of the Club’s facilities bathrooms. “It was not the most glamorous project but something that needed attention and we had the resources and student commitment to get the funding and the job done,” noted Stacy Crawford, an ENACTUS Sam Walton Fellow and faculty advisor to the Monroe chapter. “Besides doing something that benefitted an important community organization, the project gave our students an opportunity to put into practice the management, financial planning, and organizational skills that they learn in the classroom, a primary objective of ENACTUS.”
Monroe Culinary Arts majors have also assisted at Boys & Girls Club fundraisers. “With their assistance, we are able to control the overhead of our fundraising events’ production costs, realizing a greater return on the money that we raise,” said Watkins. “This is another win-win for Monroe and the Boys & Girls Club,” added Jerome. “All of our academic departments and our Office of Career Advancement are keen on having our students get hands-on experience by putting to practice what they learn in the classroom. Being able to help a banquet run smoothly is a wonderful experience in customer relations, dining room service, and time management for the more than 400 students studying in our School of Hospitality Management.”