Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Year-end service learning celebration Friday

May 11, 2011

BINGHAMTON — Binghamton University students and leaders of nine local non-profit agencies will meet at 6 p.m. Friday at the Roberson Museum and Science Center, 30 Front St.

They’ll celebrate students’ work through their LEAD 353 service learning course, wherein they partnered with the Broome County Council of Churches and Urban League, Binghamton Youth Bureau, Mom’s House of Endicott, The Humane Society, A Room to Heal, the Roberson and Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments in a variety of projects.

Students scrutinized each group’s strengths and weaknesses to formulate plans for future activities. One of the projects will be chosen for a $2,000 award, allowing the winning team to implement the plan for the organization.

Support for this annual service learning experience is provided by Manley’s Might Mart, which over the course of the program’s 10-year history has committed more than $150,000.

— Valerie Zehl

Church group honors three volunteers

Written by Valerie Zehl
May 7, 2011

As services for America's aging population hang on budgetary tenterhooks, the Broome County Council of Churches has an answer already in place.

The Faith in Action (FIA) program is a network of caring people from local congregations, and about 300 community members gathered Friday morning to celebrate their generous spirit at the Binghamton Riverwalk Hotel.

Three volunteers were honored at the annual Lives of Commitment Awards Breakfast: Anthony Russo, Gloria Kranefuss and Sam A. Lupo Jr.

Russo, a junior at Newark Valley High School, has been a driving force in the FIA's Ramp It Up program, where young people build access ramps for those with disabilities.

Lupo, president of Sam A. Lupo & Sons, was honored for the scope of his community service.

Kranefuss, at age 84, has a long list of services she still enthusiastically renders. Too overwhelmed to address the audience directly, she read a poem she wrote about her activities and received appreciative chuckles in return: "I've delivered food to people/breakfast lunch and dinner/I try to keep the thin ones/from getting any thinner" and "I'll take you where you want/I don't mind one iota/Just call me up, I'll be right there/you'll hop in my Toyota." The shy, tiny, selfless woman received a standing ovation.

Keynote speaker, Rabbi Rachel Esserman, noted that because of a severe hearing disability, she too needs help sometimes, and hasn't yet encountered a stranger who refused to render it. "Life can be precarious," she said. "We may all need a helping hand" at some point.

More caregivers, fundraisers, mentors and other volunteers are always needed, as is material assistance to build more ramps for local people with disabilities. To learn more about the BC Council of Churches' Faith in Action program, log on or phone (607) 724-9130.