Spread Your Wings
When Amanda Mansour '14 (San Antonio, Texas) left for college, she wasn't just itching to spread her wings. She was ready to SOAR.
The social work major moved into Nazareth's SOAR residence hall floor, a freshman-only living option focused on leadership and service, and immediately became part of campus and community.
"I love to give back to the community," Amanda said. "And since I'm from somewhere far away, I thought this would get me connected."
She donned a bumblebee costume for a haunted house for kids with disabilities. She helped organize a campus-wide project to make cards for U.S troops and nursing home residents. And through Partners for Serving, she's done everything from mentoring teens to playing with kids while their mothers take parenting classes.
With a schedule packed with service projects—not to mention running on the cross country team—is there such a thing as too much? "I've done more this year than I did in all of high school! But every time I volunteer I learn something new," she said. "It sounds cliché or corny, but volunteering gives me a good heart."
Learn about SOAR at go.naz.edu/service/soar.
Q & A With Amanda
You're from San Antonio, so how did you end up at Nazareth?
My mom and I were Googling the best social work schools. Nazareth came up on the top of the list. I thought it was time for me to be independent and so something just on my own.
What project is the SOAR Floor planning now?
We're organizing a campus wide project making cards for troops, nursing home residents, and patients in a children's hospital. We've been making flyers. We made it a Facebook event. I'm telling everyone I know.
You're also part of Partner's for Serving, a campus job that sends Nazareth students into the community for service projects. What are you doing there?
At Sojourner House, I play with the kids while their mothers take parenting classes. At Community Place, we're working with teens in a mentoring program. It's taught me how to teach kids—even though I never had any desire to be a teacher. Through Generation 2, I spend one-on-one time with kindergartners. G2 is a nonprofit organization that creates inter-generational friendships and child advocacy partnerships through play.
What's the best aspect of your service projects so far?
Having my friends with me. I volunteer with them and have more opportunities to get to know them. It has put me a step ahead in social work to have these experiences under my belt—and it puts me ahead on campus by knowing more people.
How did you balance running on the cross country team with living on the SOAR Floor with being a normal college student?
Running cross country is an awesome way to meet friends and stay in shape. But it's really hard to balance that with being new to campus, adjusting to college, and keeping up with your classes. At midterms my grades weren't the greatest, so an upperclassman on the team started taking me to the library to do our homework together. She helped me get organized. We keep up with it even though the season's over.
Was Nazareth the right college choice?
A first, it was definitely challenging because my friends were back in San Antonio. I missed them a lot. But now, I've come out of my comfort zone. I've become independent. I'm learning so much more than if I would have stayed home in San Antonio with all my friends.