by Ben Eppard

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am an enthusiastic gardener. I spent my boyhood on a farm and to this day my family keeps a large garden at my grandmother’s house where we grow essentially all the vegetables we need for the year. Now for the past six and a half years, I’ve worked to promote student service at Madison House. In that role I use the word “volunteer” many many times each day, but in the garden this word has a different context.

A volunteer is a plant that sprouts all on its own without any work from the gardener. Many farmers plow them under, but my family can tell you that I am crazy about volunteers. I’ve hoed crooked rows and rearranged garden plans to make room for these mischievous plants. Not because they grow the way I would have done it, but because they grow all on their own, asking nothing but a little space and occasional training. In return the volunteer produces fruit. As a gardener this brings me great joy.

A few times over the years – since my definition of volunteer was broadened by Madison House – I’ve thought how our community partners and program staff experience that same joy. Last night I watched as Jennifer Walker, Madison House’s talented Director of Programs, began training next year’ s Head Program Directors. I thought about the many volunteers I’ve been privileged to watch grow. I’m grateful for the many staff and board members who have worked alongside me, and I am excited for the next season.

May we all make room to volunteer and find that same joy.

Ben Eppard departs Madison House at the end of this month. He’s going on tour in support of  a recent album and working on a book concept. More on Ben’s successor Victoria Long in the next newsletter.

by Jennifer Walker

Madison House is proud to introduce the new Head Program Directors for 2014-2015! Twenty students were chosen by their peers as the Head Program Directors for next year through a competitive selection process to lead one of Madison House’s nineteen volunteer service programs:

Housing Improvement - Morgan Matson (CLAS ’16), from Fairfax, Virginia, is a Biochemistry major with a minor in Biology. Aside from her love all things housing improvement, she also works under Doc. Cafiso in his Biophysical lab located in the Chemistry department.
PLAY: After School ActivitiesZack Bartee (COMM ’15), from Oak Hill, Virginia, is a Commerce and Economics major who began volunteering with Madison House at the Hope Center during the first semester of his first year. Before becoming HPD of PLAY, he served as the first PD of the PB&J Fund at Madison House. He is also the Cavalier Daily Sports Editor, the Econ Club Tutoring Chair, and ‘Hoo Crew’s Orange Passport Chair.
Recreational TherapyLindsay Ardiff (CLAS ’16), from Richmond, is a hopeful Human Biology and Studio Art major who has been involved with Madison House since her first semester at UVA. Currently, she enjoys volunteering with Adopt-a-Grandparent and serving as a Program Director for Special Olympics in Recreational Therapy.  Lindsay is also involved in independent research through UVA’s Biology department, Jefferson Public Citizens, and on the weekends, serving really tasty food at Lemongrass on the Corner.
Youth MentoringRachel Ford-Fink (SEAS ’15) is a Civil Engineering major from Houston, TX. She has been volunteering with Madison House for three years and currently serves as Program Director for the Virginia Discovery Museum. Aside from her involvement in Madison House, she is a part of Alpha Phi Omega, Alternative Spring Break, American Society of Civil Engineers and performs research with the civil department.
TutoringAshley Dustin (CLAS ’15) is a Media Studies and Psychology major from Richmond, Virginia. Ashley has been volunteering with the Tutoring program since her first year and is so excited to be HPD. Aside from Madison House, Ashley enjoys volunteering with the coed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, taking piano lessons and participating in Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) large group and small group.
Latino and Migrant AidKatie Thompson (CLAS ’15), was born and raised in Keezletown, a small town located in western Virginia, and is double-majoring in Global Development Studies and Latin American Studies. When not program directing for Latino and Migrant Aid, Katie is also an Alternative Spring Break Site Leader and the Producer of First Year Players. Additionally, she interns for LAMA’s Community Parter, Migrant Education at Albemarle County Schools.  She is so excited to be a Head Program Director for Latino and Migrant Aid for the 2014-2015 academic year!
Medical Services – UVa Health SystemChrissy Oetjen (CLAS ’15) is a Cognitive Science major with a Biology minor and plans to go to nursing school after she graduates. She has been volunteering with Madison House since First Year and is currently a Program Director for Acute Pediatrics in Medical Services. She also volunteers at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad and is excited to become an EMT-Intermediate at the end of the summer.
Medical Services – Charlottesville Free Clinic and Martha Jefferson HospitalAnam Jafri (CLAS ’15) is a pre-med, Human Biology major from Yorktown, Virginia. She has been volunteering with Madison House since her first year at UVA in the UVA hospital, the outpatient pharmacy, and with pediatrics. She will be serving as the Medical Services HPD for Martha Jefferson Hospital and the Free Clinics next year. Outside of Madison House, she is working on independent research in infectious disease of children in developing countries. 
Hoos Assisting with Life ObstaclesTaylor Jordan (COMM ’15), from Fairfax, Virginia, has volunteered with HALO since her first year. She currently serves as the HALO PD of the Virginia Workforce Center, a position that she has held since her second year. Aside from her involvement in Madison House, she serves as the Chief Operating Officer of Smart Woman Securities, a women’s investment organization, and she is a member of University Dance Club. 
HELP LineStephen Giannotti (CLAS ’16) is from Chesapeake, Virginia and is a second year history and education major at the University. Stephen got involved with HELPLine last year following the student activities fair and currently serves as the its volunteer liaison program director. He is excited to take on the his new role as Head Program Director and seize this opportunity to become even more involved with the program. Stephen also leads the club Students Supporting Soldiers’ pSychology (4S), an organization that works to spread awareness about mental health for soldiers and support troops and their families by providing them with free psychological services and he is a docent in training this semester at the UVA Fralin Museum. 
English Speakers of Other LanguagesCatherine Jessee, (CLAS ’15) from Roanoke, Virginia is a third year majoring in American Studies and English. She has been volunteering with the Madison House ESOL Program since her first year and has served as Program Director since her second year. Outside of her involvement with Madison House, she writes for the Cavalier Daily and is a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. 
Day CareJamie Wasserman (COMM ’15) is a Commerce/Cognitive Science double major from Wantagh, NY. She has been volunteering with the Madison House daycare program since her first year and has served as the Program Director for Chancellor Street Preschool. Outside of Madison House, she is a member of Alpha Chi Omega and works at the UVA Cognitive Aging Lab.
Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope (CASH)Barnaby Lo (COMM ’15), born and raised in Hong Kong, is a commerce student studying Finance and Accounting.  He currently serves as the head program director for CASH and will be returning again next year. Outside of Madison House, Barnaby is involved with the Global Markets Group and serves on the USEM advisory committee.
Cavs in the ClassroomAllison Rhea (CLAS’ 2016) is an Environmental Science major, minoring in Urban and Environmental Planning. She currently as a mentor for Cavs in the Classroom and will return next year the Head Program Director. Beyond her involvement in Madison House, she is a member of the exec board on Second Year Council and VP of Philanthropy for her sorority, Pi Beta Phi.
Bridging the GapShantell Bingham (CLAS ‘15) is a Studio Art and Global Public Health double major. From Burlington, North Carolina, Shantell started as a Madison House volunteer in the Bridging The Gap program and has worked her way up through the ranks. She enjoys making art with local Charlottesville citizens and sharing their work in campus art shows.
Animals & EnvironmentEda Herzog-Vitto (CLAS ’15), a New York native, is a double major in Political & Social Thought and French. She is particularly interested in education policy and equity. She was the Montanova Stables PD this year, and her other involvements at UVa include the Virginia Triathlon Team, the Virginia Riding Team, and Operation Flag the Lawn.
Adopt-a-GrandparentCaroline Trezza (CLAS ’15) is a third-year from Roslyn, NY majoring in American Studies and Economics.  She has previously been the Adopt-A-Grandparent Program Director at both Riverdale Assisted Living and Morningside Assisted Living.  In addition to volunteering with AAGP, Caroline’s other involvements on Grounds include the University Guide Service, Alternative Spring Break, and the Cavalier Daily.
AthleticsElise Gordon (COMM ’15) from Chicago, Illinois, is a finance concentrator in the Commerce school. She currently volunteers with the YMCA Rookie Soccer program and has also been involved in Madison House’s tutoring program in her time at U.Va. She is a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and is currently the President of the Women’s Club Soccer Team.
Holiday SharingEllen Schleckman (CLAS ’15) is a pre-medical student studying biochemistry from Lakewood, Ohio. She is excited to return to the Head PD position for Holiday Sharing this year! Aside from her involvement at Madison House, she has been involved with the Peer Health Educators, Global Medical Brigades, Alternative Spring Break, Undergraduate Chemistry Research and the UVA Clubs Program.
Big SiblingsAllie Iaccarino is an Architecture major from Boston, Massachusetts. She has been volunteering at Madison House in the Big Siblings program for three years now and beyond loves spending her Friday afternoons exploring Charlottesville with her Little Sibling Kai. Outside of Madison House, she enjoys doing yoga, hiking in the nearby Blue Ridge, and waitressing on the Corner. She is a member of the Alpha Phi sorority, Alternative Spring Break, Contemplative Sciences @ UVA, and the Jefferson Scholars community.

by Melissa Young

Six students were selected as the student board member nominees for next year’s Madison House Board of Directors in a highly competitive selection process. Slightly hampered by the 18 inch snowfall that hit Charlottesville on February 12 and 13, decisions were made by a committee made up of the 8 current student board members, led by committee chair Rachel Hecht (CLAS ’14).

“It was incredibly rewarding to help put together the selections process for the new student board member nominees.  All of the applicants were enthusiastic for Madison House and full of wonderful, strategic ideas.  We extended a handful of interviews and could not be more excited about the passion and energy of the six students selected,” said Rachel.

Thirty seven applicants vied for the six open slots; sixteen received interviews by the student committee. Returning to the Board for a second year in 2014-15 are Christy Lee (COMM ’15) from Houston, Texas and Lia Catteneo (SEAS ’16) from Falls Church, Virginia. Joining Christy and Lia next year are:

Jessica Blusiewicz (CLAS ‘15) is a foreign affairs major with a focus on the Middle East. From Newport News, Virginia, Jessica started as a Madison House as a volunteer in the ESOL program and was HPD this year. She is also serving as a Resident Advisor this year.

 

 

Stephanie Bolton (COMM ’15), from NOVA is currently a Program Director for Holiday Sharing.  She also interns for UVa Athletics in the Virginia Sports Properties division and is a member of the executive committee for her sorority, Sigma Kappa. Stephanie is also serving as the student liaison to MHAC this year.

 

Andrew McBride (CLAS ’16), born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, is a pre-medical student studying a mixture of biology, economics, and Spanish. He is a member of the Virginia Triathlon Team, Reformed University Fellowship, and the Jefferson Scholars community. He currently serves as a program director for Latino & Migrant Aid and volunteers with SISI through Medical Services.

 

Paige McDermott (BATTEN ’15), from Fredericksburg, Virginia, currently serves as a Program Director and mentor with the Bridging the Gap program. Aside from her involvement with Madison House, she is involved with Batten Undergraduate Council, Oxfam America at UVA, Jefferson Public Citizens and is a member of Kappa Delta sorority.  

 

 

 

Carly Spraggins (CLAS ’15) is a Government and Media Studies major from Richmond, Virginia. She has been volunteering with Madison House tutoring for three years and currently serves as the Tutoring Program Director at Woodbrook Elementary School. Outside of Madison House, she enjoys giving tours with the University Guide Service, serving on the Student Council Public Service Committee, and traveling with Alternative Spring Break.

 

Kevin Whitehead (COMM ’15) from Richmond, Virginia has been volunteering to help mentor underprivileged kids since high school, continuing that commitment by volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club at Cherry Avenue since first semester of first year.  He has served in a variety of positions at Madison House, from program director to HPD of PLAY. Kevin is a member of One-in-Four, an all-male sexual assault peer education group on Grounds and is currently President of his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, whose house is next door to Madison House.

Evan is a fourth year studying Sociology with a Chemistry minor from Roanoke, VA. He will attending UVA’s School of Medicine next fall and excited to be a double ‘Hoo. Evan decided to get involved with Med Services to give back to the Charlottesville community and learn more about the medical field. His interaction and involvement with patients has sparked his passion for starting his career in the medical field. Working with one particular upbeat patient who loved to tell war stories from WWII in the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center was particularly inspiring for Evan. 

Big Sibling Mike Rusie and his little sib enjoy the Big Sib Field Day.

More Than 220 Mentors Supported in Their Efforts

Madison House, the student volunteer center at the University of Virginia, has received a generous grant from the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band in the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation (CACF) to support the work of two student-led volunteer programs – Big Siblings and Bridging the Gap. The Madison House Big Siblings and Bridging the Gap programs aim to provide a one-on-one mentor match for area children. Student volunteer mentors serve as a tutor, a friend, and a positive college role model in the life of a child.

Big Siblings mentors are paired with youth who are struggling in the classroom and/or at home. Participating children are referred by school guidance counselors. Similarly, Bridging the Gap mentors are paired with newly resettled refugee children in need of language help and guidance and are referred by school English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. Each child who participates in either program receives access to free, fun and educational activities with their assigned mentor.

The grant will enable Madison House to conduct criminal and driving background checks for volunteers and support programming and management costs for the programs.

“Being a single parent has its moments when I feel like I can’t do it all by myself,” said the mother of one of the children with a Madison House mentor. “Being able to trust someone with my child is a blessing from God. I thank you for your program and students with the ability to care about our children. It works.”

Madison House Volunteers Address Food Insecurity in Charlottesville

As students and residents of a relatively affluent city, we often do not think about poverty or hunger in Charlottesville. However, according to a survey by Map the Meal Gap, a project by Feed America, Charlottesville has a food insecurity rate of 17.9% overall and 14.8% for children. This shocking statistic prompted the creation of Loaves and Fishes, a nonprofit in Charlottesville that serves as a food pantry for low income individuals and families in Charlottesville who cannot afford to buy food. Originally started by the First United Methodist Church in 2004, Loaves and Fishes became a 501(3)c in 2011 and has started a new facility on Greenbrier Drive in order to better serve their clients. They also operate a food truck that delivers food to those unable to access the food pantry due to lack of transportation.

Madison House is very excited to be partnering with Loaves and Fishes this spring semester! The program falls under HALO (Hoos Assisting with Life Obstacles), and the site is currently recruiting volunteers for a shift on Thursday evenings. Kaycee Ensign, the Program Director for the site, hopes that the “the program runs smoothly throughout the year and that volunteers find it a meaningful place to work.” Having volunteered at the Haven, Kaycee is well-aware of how much impact a volunteer can have on the lives of the individuals served through nonprofit organizations and encourages potential volunteers to sign up! A volunteer will have the opportunity to work with 9 Madison House peers during the Thursday shift, and they will be able to interact with the excellent staff at Loaves and Fishes.

Initially, the 2013 President’s Report from the University of Virginia incorrectly stated that Madison House has impacted 20,000 individuals in its 44 year history. This is actually the estimated number of individuals impacted on an annual basis. The language has since been updated to read as follows:

Founded by U.Va. students as an independent volunteer center, in its 44 year history Madison House has coordinated volunteers giving more than 3 million hours of service to the community.

In our November E-Newsletter we mentioned the extensive water damage to the Madison House front porch. The construction bill to fix the structural damage totaled nearly $5,000 – a significant amount of money to Madison House. But in response to the newsletter we were contacted by a generous alum who covered the cost.

We are deeply touched by the generosity of this alum, and the continued support of so many Madison House supporters. The work that Madison House’s student volunteers are doing is meaningful and bigger than anyone of us. We are reminded of what can be accomplished as we work together. Thank you!

Madison House is so grateful to be selected as the beneficiary of the Will Barrow Memorial Flag Football Tournament, put on by the UVA Men’s Lacrosse team. The tournament saw students and community members playing friendly games of football, and the Madison House HELP Line program distributed resources promoting their mission of providing an empathetic listening ear to all in the area.

WATCH NBC 29 COVER THE TOURNAMENT

 

by Melissa Young, Executive Director

When I noticed the black streaks descending from the tops of the columns on the front porch, I thought there was some minor water damage. But when the team from U.Va. Facilities came, they warned me that we needed to find where the water had come from. They determined the gutters around the balcony had “rusted out” and when they peeled back the trim from the beam above the columns, they found it to be rotten and eaten by termites! Extensive remodeling was necessary to maintain the safety and integrity of our entryway.

Today, the gutters are shiny and new, wood beams and trim installed and painted; our entrance has never looked better. I only wish I could say the same for our bank balance!

This is  just an example of the kind of expenses which must be met in order to maintain Madison House – a building that dates to 1975 – as a home away from home for tomorrow’s leaders. If you thought that Madison House doesn’t need your financial support, you would be mistaken. An independent 501(c)(3) non-profit, we receive no direct financial support from the University. Grant dollars are not as plentiful as in years past.  Without private contributions, we could not function.

Without Madison House, how would the 3,243 University students who volunteered last year have served the community?  What would our Community Partners have done without the 110,000 hours of service provided? And what about the 20,000 community residents impacted by our volunteers?  What about them?

Thankfully, Madison House is supported by many dedicated friends and alumni.  The new porch was not budgeted – but we’ll manage to pay the bill.  But please know how valued and needed the support of our alumni and friends is. As you consider your end-of-year giving, please consider Madison House.  We would be very grateful.

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