Program includes discounts to SHU events and help from student volunteers for elderly and infirm.
an impact on the community is a fundamental element of Sacred Heart
University’s mission. The institution prides itself on community service
impacting people locally and throughout the country and world.
The focus has also always been very much on the surrounding
community, and that continues to be the case with the North End
Partnership. The program has been created by Sacred Heart students and
faculty with the assistance of Bridgeport Councilwomen Michelle Lyons
and AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia and City Council President Thomas McCarthy.
“The idea behind the project is to expand Sacred Heart University’s
community service in Bridgeport to the North End, which just so happens
to be our own backyard,” said Sacred Heart’s Cory Rivera, the community
service chair for the class of 2016.
The idea initially came from a conversation among Sacred Heart’s
President John Petillo; Bridgeport Councilwomen Michelle Lyons; Matthew
Kaye, director of Volunteer Programs and Service Learning; and
Jacqueline Kelleher, education professor and chair of the Bridgeport
Board of Education.
The ultimate goal of the program is to promote and encourage a
relationship with North End residents, particularly the elderly and
disabled, and to assist them in various simple outdoor tasks and
The partnership’s kickoff event took place in April when student
leaders Rivera and Melissa Martin ’16 joined Lyons to distribute flyers
in the North End promoting the partnership and offering discounts to SHU
events for residents.
The partnership will continue during SHU’s Community Connections week
before the start of classes, when students will distribute the
2013-1014 brochure. The goal is to encourage residents to visit SHU,
explore the programs available – many of which are offered free of
charge – and get to know the University’s students and faculty.
This year’s brochure describes discounts on concerts, plays, sporting
events and more. It also describes some of the many lectures that will
be offered free of charge to the local community throughout the year.
The events range from musical presentations by Sheena Easton and Elvis
Presley, Jr., to a theatrical performance of Chicago and a
discussion with Joan Crawford’s daughter, Christina. North End residents
will also receive half off tickets to most SHU home sporting events.
“This year, we will be celebrating Sacred Heart’s 50th anniversary
with a variety of exciting programs and events. For example alumnus Kevin Nealon
will be here during homecoming to present a comedic benefit
performance,” Petillo noted. “There will be free lectures on a variety
of topics through the year, and we very much hope that our neighbors in
the North End will be here often to help us celebrate.”
The partnership is also working to solidify the connection between
residents and students by gathering the names of individuals who need
the most assistance in the North End area. Beginning in the fall,
groups of students will be ready to go out and perform services for
those in need.
“Whatever we can do to encourage the relationship between the North
End and SHU students will be considered,” said Lyons of the program
“I really think this project has the potential to help change the
lives of the individuals who reside in the North End simply by having
the Sacred Heart students be there for them,” Rivera concluded.