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Club Gets a Helping Hand from Prep Students

From left: Cole Bennett, Club director Chris Volker and Anthony Cristelli, stand near new entry walkway garden installed at the Club’s teen center located on Crystal Avenue in Vineland.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Vineland recently received some helping hands from two local St. Augustine Prep students. Cole Bennett and Anthony Cristelli, both incoming seniors at the Prep and Vineland residents, helped maintain two community gardens at two Club sites in Vineland and installed a walkway beautification project at its teen center.

“We were so happy to have the students assist us at the Boys & Girls Club,” stated Chris Volker, Club director. The young men were a big help since the walkway was on our wish list for some time now.”

Volker mentioned that the Club is a great place for young people to come after school and grow and learn since its focus areas are academic success, healthy lifestyles and good character and citizenship. “The walkway project makes the entry way more welcoming and it feels more like home for our members,” he stated.

Caritas, or ‘Service,’ is one of the three pillars of the St. Augustine experience. It means charity or give back. Each senior must complete a minimum of 100 service hours during this community service-driven project in order to graduate.

“The Club was very pleased to have Cole and Anthony undertake this project and is grateful to the Prep for making opportunities like this available to its students,” said Volker. “This is a great way to keep students self-motivated so that they continue to pursue academic success,” said Volker.

Both Cole and Anthony were happy to pitch in and get this project off the ground. “We are happy to pursue a collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club. It was great working with Chris Volker and Club garden volunteer Nancy Walsh to assist with their community gardens and the walkway. It is something that will last for years to come!” said Cole Bennett.

“I felt the lessons we learned from volunteering at the Club will help us now and, in the future, especially on how important it is to give back to your community,” stated Anthony Cristelli.

As Chris Volker states: “This project was a win-win for the Club, the City of Vineland and for Cole and Anthony who were able to finish their senior project during the summer!