Students Participated in Community Service Immersion Program

News Story: August 10, 2012
Freshman Stephanie Montstream was one of many who pitched in to paint Bridgeport's Habitat for Humanity warehouse as part of SHU's annual CURTIS Week. 

A group of nineteen Sacred Heart University students participated in CURTIS Week 2010, immersing themselves in community service initiatives in the city of Bridgeport. From Wednesday, January 13th through Monday, January 18th, the students, who ranged from freshmen to seniors, resided at the St. Charles Urban Center and spent their days learning first-hand about urban issues while volunteering throughout the community. CURTIS Week 2010 was sponsored by a generous grant from the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation. 

CURTIS (Community Understanding and Reflection Through Inner-city Service) Week was created in honor of the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, the founder of Sacred Heart University and second Bishop of Bridgeport. It takes place every January during winter break. This service opportunity is open to all students and is similar to another SHU community service immersion program that is open only to incoming freshmen, Community Connections, which takes place each year in the fall.

According to Dawn Doucette-Kaplan, SHU’s coordinator of Volunteer Programs, CURTIS Week 2010 focused on the theme of diversity in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From left, students Carolyn Holland, Grace Fulton, Amanda Francini and Shawnee Zyskowski carried shelving units into Caroline House in Bridgeport.

“Service in the community is an integral part of the mission of Sacred Heart University and CURTIS Week gives students an opportunity to grow and learn from working with many diverse people. The students explored issues such as poverty, prejudice and immigration.  The week’s activities gave the students the opportunity to explore the social injustices and cultural stereotypes that perpetuate these problems,” she said.

Among the week’s many activities, the students participated in a read-aloud at Marin School, cooked and served food at the Alpha Community Shelter, worked for Habitat for Humanity, Bridgeport Rescue Mission, and the Caroline House. The students also visited the Al Aziz Masjid Mosque, the B’nai Israel Synagogue, participated in the “To Tell the Truth” co-op program at St. Charles Urban Center and attended the 31st Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Mt. Aery Baptist Church.

The week began with a brief “send-off” service in the University’s new Chapel of the Holy Spirit.  Also held was a Community Potluck Luncheon for all members of the community at the McGivney Center in Bridgeport.