By Jaci Wendel
For the month of April, the Center for Service and Social Justice (CSSJ) has selected two Volunteers of the Month. Margaret O’Brien, a nursing major, and Thomas Perrotti, a sport management and marketing dual major, are both freshmen and began to get involved with service from the start of their time at DeSales.
Both O’Brien and Perrotti had their beginnings with CSSJ through participating in the freshman pre-orientation outreach program.
“That week opened my eyes to service and how I could help others around me so much,” said Perrotti about his pre-orientation experience.
From there, both freshmen became increasingly involved in service, throwing themselves headfirst into the opportunities of their choice.
For Perrotti, this was serving as a member of the Special Olympics committee for the Eastern Regional Bowling Competition. According to Americorps VISTA employee Victoria Gaffney, Perrotti was a very active member of the committee, making preparations, decorating and setting up for the event.
“My favorite thing that I have done this year with the CSSJ would have to be having the opportunity to be on the committee for Special Olympics for the Eastern Regional Bowling Competition,” said Perrotti. “This event was very exciting and made me feel good about helping all of the athletes that participated.”
For O’Brien, her favorite service opportunity that she is involved with is tutoring students at Raub Middle School.
“I think my favorite thing is tutoring at Raub,” said O’Brien. “I go Thursdays after school and three or four of us just spend time with the kids and help them with whatever they are working on or learning about. Then we just play games and have fun spending time with them. I love getting there and just [having them] tell me about their week or something cool that happened.”
“Seeing them happy and spending time with them honestly is one of the best parts of my week,” she added.
Not only does O’Brien tutor at Raub, but she also assists Raub’s Girl Scout Troop and tries to get involved with the middle schoolers as much as she can.
“Along with tutoring, she goes to Raub every chance possible to help the children in any way possible,” said Gaffney.
Other service opportunities that O’Brien and Perrotti have participated in include Best Buddies, Victory House, hosting prospective students, the DAWG tour guide program and Relay for Life.
Gaffney is very grateful for the contributions that O’Brien and Perrotti have made to CSSJ. Both students have brought their own unique talents to the table and use them to serve others.
“They are both very creative. [O’Brien] is our number one plarner—she creates balls of plarn (plastic yarn) from recycled trash bags, and helps students create sleeping mats for the homeless,” said Gaffney. “[Perrotti] helps out with our Raub renovation projects and Victory House, and has been a great resource in various construction tips and ideas.”
“They are huge helps with so many of our service projects!” added Gaffney.
Perrotti says that service is one of his favorite things to do and loves to put his whole effort into every service opportunity he participates in.
“I am very active and involved on campus, and I try to bring my friendliness to my service and the others I work with. I feel that I bring compassion to all of the work that I do and go 100 percent in every task that I accomplish,” he said. “I love to do service and see the impact that the others and myself have on so many people right around DeSales.”