NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Communities in New Rochelle, Mount Vernon and Yonkers received the gift of giving as more than 30 Iona College students recently participated in the 5th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Build-a-thon.
The collaborative community event is sponsored by Iona’s Office of Mission and Ministry, Interreligious Council of New Rochelle and Habitat for Humanity.
The total number of volunteers included 80 high school college student and alumni volunteers throughout New Rochelle, Mount Vernon and Yonkers. Their participation helped to refurbish homes and promote affordable housing for the Habitat for Humanity Westchester organization.
The New Rochelle rebuilds included the community room of Faith Tabernacle Church on Dewitt Place and converted space into apartments at 524 Main St. In Mount Vernon, carpet was laid in the Chamber of Commerce building, and merchandise organization was completed in the Habitat Re-Store. Rebuilt gutted housing took place on High Street and Hawthorne Avenue in Yonkers.
All volunteers donated their personal time to utilize their building skills while making a huge impact in their surrounding communities. CJ Funaro, Iona College student government leader, described his experience stating “This is one of the most rewarding service projects I’ve ever engaged in. Having the opportunity to correct social inequality and serve those who need it the most, reminded me to take nothing in life for granted.”
Jim Killoran, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Westchester, added, “We are blessed to celebrate the dream of ownership…and making it happen.”
The thirty-four Iona participants were seniors Maria Pelosi, Cassie Moniodes, Sheila Kearney, Jaclyn Shearer, Jessalyn Marconi, Alexa Serrecchia, Elisa Levy; juniors: Fred Carter, Monica Jesby, Raymond Garo, Shristi Gajurel, CJ Funaro, Louis Dallojacono, Steve Burth; sophomores: Dana Andrea, Jacqueline Martinez, Dana Delucchi, Sean Campbell, Jasmin Bayla, Julia Pietrangelo, Anthony Aurrichio, Jordana Pazmejia; freshmen: Joseph Celifarco, Samantha Cimillo, Valerie Tommasone, Caroline Farella, Thomas Mercer, Frank Nikolaidis, Brandy Gonzalez, Jose Romero, Alysha Gagnon, Kori Bennett, Mollie Traub and alumnus Will May.