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 SRU Volunteers Head to New Orleans to Lend a Helping Hand 




Contact: K.E. Schwab  -- 724-738-2199;  e-mail:


     SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. –  Eleven Slippery Rock University students, an alumna, plus three community volunteers from Pittsburgh and a faculty member are spending part of their between-semesters-break lending a helping hand to those in Louisiana hit hard by last August’s Hurricane Katrina.

     The group, part of the Care Break program offered by SRU’s Institute for Community, Service-Learning and Nonprofit Leadership, departed campus today [Jan. 3] headed to New Orleans where they will staff food and supply distribution centers and assist individuals with home restoration projects. The SRU group is partnering with the Episcopal Diocese of New Orleans for the weeklong project. The hurricane is estimated to have affected 2.2 million people along the Gulf Coast.

     SRU annually staffs nearly a dozen Care Breaks between semesters and over the traditional spring break. As part of the breaks, students volunteer their time – and labor – in a variety of community-service projects ranging from construction and clean-up work to serving in soup kitchens and taking on school children tutoring assignments. Last year’s breaks saw more than 85 students participating in projects in San Diego, Calif., Pensacola, Fla., Baton Rouge, Atlanta, Denver, East St. Louis and Baltimore.

      Dr. Colleen Cooke, associate professor of parks and recreation, environmental education at SRU and adviser for the New Orleans project, explains the sessions are seen as opportunities for students to learn about others and themselves. It also provides time to develop leadership and organizational skills.

      “I am certainly proud of these volunteers for giving up their winter break to represent SRU in this important work,” says Alice Kaiser-Drobney, director of the institute and a member of SRU’s political science faculty.

      The current project was organized by Steve Winslow, a history major from Butler, and Krista Smith, a secondary education major from Chicora, both part of the institute’s Ameri-Corps program. Rachel Sica, a graduate student from Moon Township, is the institute’s point person for all Care Break trips and will lead a second group to New Orleans over spring break.

     SRU’s Care Break program was started in 1994 and has seen nearly 900 students participate. 

Other participants in the break and their hometowns are:

Lauren Brush      Du Bois    

Sarah Campbell    Butler

Karissa Cawley    Moscow, Pa 

Dan Holler  Slippery Rock

Lindsey Miele     Bethel Park      

Josh Nard   Pittsburgh

Kelly Pearson     Pittsburgh

James Plyler      Du Bois

Meghan Stapleton  Newburgh, N.Y.

Heather Lougee Stoy     2005 SRU graduate Grove City

Other adult volunteers joining in:

Kathleen Stetz    Pittsburgh

Ryan O’ Conner    Pittsburgh

Keith GrillPittsburgh





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