Contact Dawn Insanalli, director of Public Relations, at (914) 637-2726 or by e-mail to email@example.com.
By Victoria Arrigo, '10 Public Relations Intern
Brother Kevin Devlin, Director of Student Retention at Iona continues to be an avid contributor in an organization he feels strongly for, The Abraham House. The Abraham House, located in the South Bronx, was founded in 1993. The Abraham House is the only Parish in the United States that serves to help and restore victims of incarceration. This residential program serves no more than 12 residents at a time. While part of the Abraham House, the inmates are required to finish their high school education, be counseled intensively, learn to take social and personal responsibility, and obtain and maintain a job. Only one of the more than 100 graduates has returned to prison for a second offense. The initial goal of Abraham House was to break the cycle of recidivism, or habitual relapse into crime. Since its opening its goal has expanded, and it is now to break the cycle of crime in families, from grandparent to parent to child.
From the time of its opening, the Abraham House has expanded, and now has an after-school program, as well as a Pastoral Center in which 500-600 families attend. The after-school program operates a tutoring program for children ages 6 to 13.
Brother Devlin has been on the Board of Directors for Abraham House since its opening in 1993. He visits the center at least once a week. Brother Devlin coordinates yearly donations for the Abraham House, collecting a wide range of items from board games to clothes. "The relationship between Abraham House and the IONA community goes back to our founding 15 years ago and to the generous efforts of one of our founding Board members Brother Kevin Devlin. In addition to being a tireless volunteer, Brother Kevin has been one of our greatest advocates encouraging the support of donors and volunteers for over 15 years," said Gilles Mesrobian, Executive Director of Abraham House.
Almost everything is accepted for Abraham House donations except large furniture. During the holidays, the need for certain donations increases including, food for Thanksgiving and gifts for Christmas. Brother Devlin feels it is important that items which are recreational and educational are collected such as, board games and children's books. When asked what he felt has been the most fulfilling part of being involved with the Abraham House, Brother Devlin stated: "To see families united, and children grow up and go to college. In the 15 years that I've been part of the Abraham House, less than 3% of residents have gone back to jail." A highlight for Brother Devlin is, Saturday afternoon mass at 4:00, because hundreds of people attend.
Throughout the years Brother Devlin has been an integral figure in getting the Iona Community involved with the Abraham House. Members from Campus Ministries of Iona visit the center at least once a week. Some jobs volunteers are partaking in this year include setting up programs that introduce and teach children about specific topics such as, cooking, sports, first-aid, and posture, to name a few. The programs are meant to be both educational and active. Earlier in the year, the Campus Ministers ran a school supply drive. Senior Brittany Flint, a campus minister, and leader for student volunteers to the Abraham House stated: "This is a new project I've started and it's still early in the year, but I can see already that the most rewarding aspect of working with the Abraham House is how receptive everyone is. The staff is genuinely appreciative and the kids themselves are very happy and enthusiastic. The atmosphere is so welcoming and that in and of itself is rewarding."
Campus Ministries isn't the only organization at Iona getting involved with the Abraham House. The Criminal Justice club has also become increasingly involved throughout the years. Recently, the basketball team visited the center. On Saturday, October 24th, students visited the Abraham House from 12:30-4:00 pm as part of Make A Difference Week at Iona.
To become involved with the Abraham House, contact Campus Ministries or Brother Devlin at (914) 633-2261, or you can leave donations at 29 Montgomery Place, across the street from the Campus Ministries House.
For questions or more information please contact:
Public Relations Office
Iona College, 715 North Avenue, New Rochelle, N.Y. 10801
Office: (914) 637-2726
Fax: (914) 637-2711
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