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WCU's Culture of Service Leads to Meaningful Experiences

Abbé Society and Friars presidents
Fran Cintorrino and Mike DePrince

Every fall semester, the Friars and the Abbé Society together adopt a family through the "Holiday Family Program" of the Crime Victims Center (CVC) of Chester County. This past fall semester, the two service organizations raised $4,600 to help a family who had been victimized by crime celebrate the holiday season.

This year, the Friars and Abbé Society were awarded the CVC's John J. Crane Allied Professional Award for Excellence in Service to Victims, especially children. The annual award is named after a former Chief Deputy District Attorney, who achieved national recognition for his work on behalf of victims of violent crime.

Here, Abbé Society and Friars presidents Fran Cintorrino '13 and Mike DePrince '13 describe their holiday experience.

Fran: It was around two o'clock on December 16 when we loaded the last of the presents and food, along with a futon and bed onto the truck and into our cars and headed to "our" family in Oxford, Pa. Leading up to this day, each of our organizations had gone shopping for gifts, holiday decorations and non-perishable food. We set aside a few nights over finals week to do gift wrapping together, which was a lot of fun.

Mike: The bulk of the Friars' fundraising for this project was through leaf raking. Collectively we raked about 12 properties, and while the fee for our services is donation only, many homeowners were very generous in offering extra money or furniture to support the family when meeting us in person.

Fran: When we arrived, the family was standing on their porch. I think they were a bit amazed when they saw the truck. We introduced ourselves and some of the children offered to help us bring the food and gifts into the house. The older boys carried the futon and bed. They were so appreciative.

Mike: The Crime Victims Center always gives us a list of items the family needs, along with their first names, ages and what each would want. Most times, there are lot of needs and not so many "wants." However, I was very taken aback when we started putting away some of the food we'd brought. They had nothing - not even utensils or plates and barely anything in the refrigerator.

Fran: We had brought a tree, lights, Christmas decorations, garland and tinsel. The youngest was a two-year-old, who was very excited about the decorations. One of her sisters lifted her so she could place the ornaments higher and higher on the tree. Some of us showed the two older children, 12 and 13, how to set up the computer and MVP players we had brought for them. Others of us put together the futon and bed and stocked the kitchen. Everyone got involved.