Student/Alumni Service Project Leaves Agency Gratified
In seven hours, a group of Providence College accountancy students, alumni, and faculty members performed “weeks and weeks” of volunteer work at St. Mary’s Home for Children in North Providence on a recent Saturday.
That was the assessment of Carlene Casciano-McCann, the home’s executive director, who also said their timing couldn’t have been better.
Casciano-McCann said the second annual service project — sponsored by PC’s student-run Accounting Association and by global accounting and auditing giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — resulted in exterior and interior improvements that coincided with three key initiatives at St. Mary’s.
One was a fund-raising walkathon that began and concluded at the home. Participants were able to see the rejuvenated areas firsthand, she noted.
Casciano-McCann also said the work would help St. Mary’s as it prepares to undergo an accreditation process. Thirdly, she said the painting that was accomplished in a dormitory would complement new furnishings the home will receive as a result of a grant.
“Having the PC group here made up for weeks and weeks of work. We have just a three-person maintenance staff. What they did that one day was just amazing,” said Casciano-McCann.
St. Mary’s is a secular, non-profit agency that offers comprehensive treatment programs for boys and girls who have been traumatized by abuse or who are experiencing the challenges of psychiatric disorders. Members of the College community, particularly students, have volunteered there for several years. Students continue to assist the children with homework and interact with them in activities such as arts and crafts, athletics, and games on weeknights during the academic year.
Dozens roll up sleeves
In all, 61 undergraduate students, MBA students, and alumni who work for PwC, along with accountancy faculty members Dr. Matthew J. Keane and Carol A. Hartley, C.P.A., participated in the service project. Assisted by St. Mary’s staff members, they painted eight bedrooms and a common room, organized donated clothes, and tackled an array of exterior projects including landscaping, mulching, weeding, and sweeping.
“Our kids loved having their bedrooms done … a fresh coat of paint,” exclaimed Casciano-McCann.
On top of that, the Accounting Association and one of the project’s sponsors, the Little Rhody Aquatic Club, donated $500 to St. Mary’s. Casciano-McCann said the funds would be used to provide recreational and educational activities for the children, such as trips to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, the Buttonhole golf course for children, and Roger Williams Zoo.
The donations and event sponsorship — other sponsors were Bagel Express, Ronzio Pizza and Subs, and Jersey Mike’s — were expansions of last year’s initial service project at St. Mary’s that the Accounting Association wanted to accomplish, said Ann C. Montemarano ’12 (Malverne, N.Y.), association secretary.
“Our goal was to expand the project so that even after the spring cleanup is completed we are still helping St. Mary’s,” said Montemarano.
Achieving multiple objectives
The service day was organized by Montemarano, Accounting Association president Carolyn M. Russo ’12 (Shrewsbury, Mass.), and PwC’s John R. Formica, Jr. ’81 and Ann Ulett. Formica is a partner in PwC’s National Professional Services Group, while Ulett is a manager in PwC’s recruiting group in the Boston office.
“Commitment to the community is important to the students, alumni, and PwC,” said Formica. “We really enjoy the opportunity to make a difference for such a worthy cause, and at the same time, this is a great way to build the rapport and spirit between the accountancy students and faculty and our PC alumni.”
Kevin E. Briere ’06, a senior associate in PwC’s Boston office, said the project was a valuable service, social, and networking opportunity.
“It gave me a chance to perform service, meet some of the undergraduates, and see one of my favorite undergrad professors, Carol Hartley,” said Briere. By networking with the students, he was able “to answer whatever questions they had about working in public accounting,” he added.
Montemarano said community service is an aspect that leaders of the Accounting Association, a pre-professional club, have continually incorporated the last few years. Generally, the association focuses on career-oriented opportunities such as presentations and networking, which are valuable because they often lead to internship and job offers, she said.
“The fact that this was the second annual PC/PwC day of service at St. Mary’s makes the entire board of the Accounting Association so grateful that we have such committed students,” said Montemarano.
Volunteer Sean Oliveira ’10 & ’11G, an intern in the Boston PwC office, echoed the value of community service.
“It’s great to show that, even as an alum, there are still ways to help out around the community,” said Oliveira. “Also clear, particularly while reflecting on my time at PC, is that there was, and is, a real sense of community on campus. It’s great to be able to demonstrate that the sense of community remains, even after graduation.”
— Charles C. Joyce
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