Farrington College of Education Students Work with Local Charter School

News Story: March 19, 2015

Ten students from the Isabelle Farrington College of Education had the privilege recently of working with young students at a local charter school in Bridgeport. The students were part of Sacred Heart University’s Education Club and were joined by Gina Manoni, wife of Sacred Heart University’s newest Board of Trustees member, Douglas Manoni. The event supported the work she does with Near and Far Aid, a volunteer fundraising and fund-granting organization dedicated to eliminating poverty in Fairfield County.

Manoni has been an active member of the Near & Far Aid Association for several years and a board member for the past three. Near & Far Aid is committed to helping the local community and is focused on changing lives of those in poverty throughout Fairfield County. In the 60 years since it began, Near & Far Aid has evolved from a small kitchen table charity to a cohesive group of community leaders committed to targeting poverty and changing lives in Fairfield County. The organization provides grants to more than 95 local agencies and, amazingly, has granted over $14,000,000 since the year 2,000.

Sacred Heart students visited the New Beginnings Family Academy School in Bridgeport, bringing with them three books for the pre-K students. The students prepared and then delighted the pre-kindergarten classes with their readings, work sheets and the story discussions that followed. The SHU students very much enjoyed the experience of working with Gina and of reading to the students. Francesca Bruno ’15, president of the Education club, says, “I love being a part of these events because students right away get excited to meet someone new. The enthusiasm and love that is brought into the room just from reading a book is a simple yet effective way to connect with the students.”

Manoni also enjoyed the event and said it “was a fulfilling and rewarding experience for the children as evidenced by their big smiles. It was perhaps most gratifying for me to have witnessed the joy of the children and the passion and early success of the 10 teaching students as they delivered their brief curriculum. It was a wonderful testament of the quality of students at Sacred Heart, and we will do it again!”

The Education Club at the University works to provide all students with hands-on learning opportunities through organized lectures, workshops and volunteer opportunities. The club helps facilitate a community-based learning environment to prepare members for their future in education and teaching. All students are encouraged to join, regardless of their academic program. Bruno says, “Encouraging students to see school as a positive and fun environment is something our club strives for and, through our presence, we hope to bring our passion for education to those we meet.” Manoni hopes to continue the Read Aloud program with “the very capable, confident, professional and friendly young women of the Sacred Heart University Teaching Club.”