MSMC Hosts Making a Difference Awards Dinner

NEWBURGH – The Newburgh Ministry’s First Annual Making a Difference Awards Dinner, hosted earlier this month at Mount Saint Mary College, recognized the outstanding efforts of local community members to make Newburgh a better place.

The dinner was held in celebration of Newburgh Ministry’s 35th anniversary. The ministry is a culturally diverse, grassroots organization located in the City of Newburgh’s east end. It serves the area’s low-income and homeless populations.

Mark Sanchez-Potter ’18 of Newburgh, N.Y. was one of those recognized for his service. He received the Newburgh Ministry’s Transformation Award.

Sanchez-Potter enhanced the Newburgh community throughout his time at the Mount, including mentoring local students at Mount events like STEAM Saturday, leading a class of sixth graders from San Miguel Academy in the creation of the journal Old Newburgh, New Newburgh, and aiding in the success of the Jumpstart program at the Newburgh Ministry.

Developed by Mount teacher candidates, Jumpstart is a literacy class for at-risk elementary and middle school students, held periodically at the ministry. Run by Mount volunteers, the goals of the program are to improve children’s life perspectives, develop their reading and writing skills, and increase their confidence in their abilities.

“The Newburgh Ministry inspires me with all the good work they do,” explained Sanchez-Potter. “To be a good human being, to live the Gospel truly – those are the most important things I get from volunteering at the ministry. I’m very happy with the partnership that the ministry and the Mount have and I hope it continues to grow.”

The Mount has cooperated with the Newburgh Ministry for years, enhancing both organizations’ service to the community and fostering hands-on learning opportunities for Mount students. The powerful partnership has led to the creation of community literacy programs, countless donation drives, and scores of students who integrate service into the fabric of their education and their daily lives.

Colin Jarvis, executive director of the Newburgh Ministry, shares Sanchez-Potter’s enthusiasm for the longstanding partnership.

“We would like to enhance and intensify our collaboration with the Mount,” said Jarvis. “Reducing poverty takes a many pronged approach and the Mount has a variety of disciplines that can directly impact poverty, like Nursing, Education, and Business.”

He added, “We provide the platform, and the Mount provides the expertise. I think it’s a win-win situation.”

In addition to the Mount Education students creating programs like Jumpstart, as part of the long running Medical Link program, the Mount’s School of Nursing has assisted Newburgh Ministry’s physician in charge through the aid of Nursing students, who enhance their classwork with the real-life experience. School of Business students have also volunteered their time, including helping the underserved complete their taxes in February, March, and April through the Tax Aide program.

Dean Goldberg, associate professor of Communication Arts and Film Studies and president of the Newburgh Ministry Board of Directors, first partnered with the ministry during the organization’s 30th anniversary. He and Mount Media students created a video that was played during the event.

“We have come so far in these last five years,” he said, “including new housing, a warming station during the winter months, and more.”

Other Newburgh Ministry achievements include a thrift store where local people in need can purchase necessities, and the Winterhaven shelter, which has provided those without homes a warm place to spend the night for more than a decade.

“The Newburgh Ministry is really expanding and making its mark here the city,” Goldberg noted. “The Mount is a true partner – the Mount and the ministry are in the same family. And this event is solid proof that service is needed and appreciated.”

In addition to Goldberg, Sr. Margaret Anderson ‘67, OP, alumna and former Mount Saint Mary College Board vice chair; Sr. Patricia Sullivan ‘64, OP, professor emerita of mathematics; and Fr. Francis Amodio, O.Carm., former campus chaplain, are all currently serving or have served as members of the Newburgh Ministry board.

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