St. Bonaventure will host a series of programs in February aimed at offering students inspiration and information about career opportunities in nonprofit and volunteer organizations.
The series, Call to Career: Insight into Non-Profit and Service Professions, is organized by the university’s Career & Professional Readiness Center (CPRC), Franciscan Center for Social Concern (FCSC), and the First-Year Experience program (FYE).
“We have been talking about a collaboration like this for some time,” said Connie Whitcomb, director of the Career & Professional Readiness Center. “The CPRC, FCSC and FYE all realize how important it is to raise our students’ awareness of the scope of volunteer and not-for-profit opportunities that are available to recent college graduates.”
Sr. Suzanne Kush, C.S.S.F., director of the FCSC, said that as students consider their future plans, this series will serve as a challenge to explore additional options.
“The series Call to Career is an opportunity for SBU students to interact with individuals who responded to their inner desires, acknowledged their gifts and applied them in serving the needs of others,” said Sr. Suzanne.
The series begins Wednesday, Feb. 11, with a coffeehouse and discussion about non-profit and volunteer career opportunities. The speakers will be Lana D. Benatovich, president of The National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York (NFJC) and a St. Bonaventure trustee, and Isabel Miller, executive director of Saint’s Place of Pittsford.
The Feb. 11 program, which will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Robert R. Jones Board of Trustees Room, Doyle Hall, is co-sponsored by the SBU Women’s Studies Program.
As president of the Buffalo-based NFJC, Benatovich has overseen the development, coordination and promotion of diversity programs; community policing initiatives; cultural awareness sessions; multi-faith/multi-cultural community events; proactive, anti-hate and anti-violence programming; and other programs that address the enhancement of human relations in our communities.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Tufts University and a master’s degree in educational psychology from Columbia University.
Prior to her affiliation with The National Federation for Just Communities, she served as the community relations director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Buffalo, where her responsibilities included building and maintaining relationships among various groups within the community.
Benatovich is the chairperson of the Erie County Coordinating Council on Children and Families and a past president of the Buffalo Council on World Affairs. Her honors and awards include the Gaudete Medal from St. Bonaventure, the Bishop James A. McNulty Award from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, and induction into the Western New York Women’s Hall of Fame.
Benatovich served on St. Bonaventure’s Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2008 and returned to the board in 2011. She has been a key partner in a number of the university’s interfaith programs, including Holocaust Remembrance Day and the World Day of Prayer for Peace (also known as the Spirit of Assisi).
Miller was named executive director of Saint’s Place, a volunteer organization located near Rochester, N.Y., last May. The agency annually assists more than 700 legal refugees from war-torn countries and is a joint ministry of St. Louis and St. John churches of Rochester and the Catholic Family Center.
Prior to joining Saint’s Place, Miller’s career spanned corporate positions including more than two decades with the Jim Henson Company. As executive vice president for worldwide licensing and merchandising for the company, she was responsible for supervising the marketing and development of all consumer brands worldwide for Classic Muppets, Muppet Babies, Bear in the Big Blue House, Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.
Miller first became affiliated with Saint’s Place as a tutor for refugees and has played a key role at the ministry’s Clothing Closet after moving from Westchester County to Pittsford several years ago. She has a strong background in volunteer service, which includes tutoring teens in Harlem, running a weekly meal program for seniors and working at a medical clinic in Bogotá, Colombia. She was named a Woman of Distinction in 1991 by the New York Women’s Foundation and was Adjunct Professor of the Year at Marymount Manhattan College, her alma mater, in 2006.
Saint’s Place’s main focus is helping refugees get a new start in the United States. The organization collects donated furniture, appliances, household goods, linens and clothing to set up a family’s home prior to their arrival. Some of the immigrants have lived in refugee camps for up to seven years waiting for a country to sponsor them.
St. Bonaventure has partnered with Saint’s Place since 2010, when students began visiting the agency twice a year to support the refugees. The campus community has initiated additional service projects with Saint’s Place, including the collection of school supplies for refugee children and a winter coat drive.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the Feb. 11 presentation. Registration is required by Monday, Feb. 9, via email@example.com.
THE SECOND PROGRAM in the series will be held Wednesday, Feb. 18. Students are invited to the William E. and Ann L. Swan Business Center from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. for a career conversation via Skype with Caroline Humphrey, development coordinator of Pencils of Promise. Humphrey works with college chapters at Pencils of Promise, a “for purpose” and non-profit organization that builds schools and educational opportunities in the developing world.
“In this year’s All Bonaventure Reads book, Adam Braun demonstrated how Pencils of Promise employs staff and volunteers to make a positive difference in the world,” said Chris Brown, director of the First-Year Experience program. “Especially after students connected so strongly with Pencils of Promise’s ‘for-purpose’ mission, I am excited we will continue offering events that expose students to career opportunities in the non-profit sector.”
The discussion will be held in the Peterson Board Room of the Swan Business Center. Seating is limited. Registration is requested by Monday, Feb. 16, via firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE THIRD PROGRAM in the Call to Career series will feature a Friday, Feb. 27, panel of young alumni who are working in non-profit sectors. This Homecoming Weekend event will begin at 3 p.m. in the Athletics Hall of Fame Room, Reilly Center. Refreshments will be served at a networking reception that will immediately follow the panel discussion.
The panelists will include:
» Ruth Harper-Rhode, ’10, ’11, public relations manager with Girl Scouts of Western New York » Laura McDowell, ’09, social worker with Catholic Charities of Buffalo » Brianne Rehac, ’10, ’13, counselor with Horizon Health Services of Buffalo
» Alicia D’Alessandro, ’12, corporate and foundation relations manager with Habitat for Humanity Capital District
» Kevin Cilano, ’11, team member with St. Francis Inn, Philadelphia.
Representatives from volunteer organizations will also be present to speak with student with about post-graduation opportunities during the networking reception.
All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend. Registration is appreciated by Wednesday, Feb. 25, via email@example.com. Pre-registered students will be eligible for a prize drawing that will take place at the event.
St. Bonaventure has chosen the nonfiction book “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson as its common read for 2015-2016. This All Bonaventure Reads selection explores the inequity embedded in the U.S. criminal justice system.
“Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” was released in October and focuses mainly on the work of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala., a legal practice Stevenson founded as a young lawyer that is dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need.
One of Stevenson’s first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. It transformed the lawyer’s understanding of mercy and justice forever and illustrates numerous ongoing challenges in work advocating for social justice.
About the author
7 p.m. | Monday, Oct. 26
Address by: Anthony Ray Hinton (above, right), an exonerated death row inmate, and Charlotte Morrison, senior attorney with the Equal Justice Initiative
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