North End Community Day Creates a Sunny Splash

News Story: April 16, 2015

The day, highlighted by a torrent of bright sun and mild temperatures, was a blessing in itself. Sacred Heart University’s Community Day, targeting residents of the North End area of Bridgeport, only made it that much more pleasant, and fun.

Held Saturday, April 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the North Branch Library and Community Center in Bridgeport, the annual event, coordinated by members of the University’s Panhellenic Council and guided by Andrea Canuel, program manager for SHU’s Office of Volunteer Programs & Service Learning, and Laura Arena, director of Greek Life at SHU, featured members of SHU’s 13 fraternities and sororities coordinating games and related activities with an appeal to children and families. There were also tables offering helpful information to seniors.

“This event is part of the North End Partnership between Sacred Heart and City Council members of the City of Bridgeport,” explained Canuel, including Councilwoman Michelle Lyons, who was onsite to greet neighbors, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia and Council President Tom McCarthy. Lyons was one of the initiators of the event as a form of community outreach, a focus that aligned with SHU’s mission of service. “It offers a chance to interact with the neighborhood in a positive way.”

Highlights included a bean bag toss, face painting, a photo booth, ring toss, hockey slapshot, inflatable bowling, sack races, ping pong ball toss, baseball and more. All activities were provided at no cost, and there were even snacks and beverages provided free by the @The Kitchen Truck operated by Chartwells, which is SHU’s catering partner.

The event coincides with and is a keystone of SHU’s Greek Week. “The Greek houses get points for participation, and the most active receive awards at a concluding ceremony,” noted Arena. “It’s important that the competition’s focus is on giving back to the community and impacting the North End.”

Lyons was pleased by the turnout and buzz. “This get-together reinforces the relationship between Sacred Heart, the North End and the City of Bridgeport, with activities that touch the community and focus on families and seniors,” she said.

Matthew Kaye, director of SHU’s Office of Volunteer Programs & Service Learning, echoed Lyons’ assessment. “This is a great way to illustrate SHU’s spirit and the kindness of the people of the North End,” he said.

“The smiles on the faces of kids and parents here today are the best indicators of our impact,” observed Arena.

If you are unable to view the photo gallery below, click here.