Img: Magazine
Alvernia Magazine
Latest Edition
Contact us

South Reading youth discover how they can ‘save’ the Earth

Date: 7/21/2011

Alvernia’s Holleran Center for Community Engagement conducted its fourth annual Junior Creativity Camp in July. Twenty-five 7-10 year-old campers spent a week exploring this year’s theme “On Land, Sea, and Air: Being a Superhero for the Earth.”

Creativity campers had a chance to decide how they could exhibit Superhero qualities, especially when interacting with the environment. They made recycled projects while learning what they could do to help make our planet a better place.

During the week-long adventure, the group of 25 participants visited Hawk Mountain to gain an up-close understanding of a nature preserve (and to search the sky for hawks), and traveled to Camden, NJ to tour the Camden Aquarium, and see what the marine biologists have done to create a magical environment for the aquatic life. 

A closing ceremony held at St. Peter’s Church on South Fifth Street provided an opportunity for camp participants to be recognized for their participation and achievements during camp by local community leaders.

Most Junior Creativity Campers are active participants in the South Reading Youth Initiative — a signature program of the Holleran Center for Community Engagement. Dr. Debra Greenawald, assistant professor of nursing at Alvernia, served as the faculty instructor for camp, and was assisted by Holleran Center staff Christopher Fake (South Reading Youth Initiative Program Manager), Jessica Umbenhauer (Project Coordinator), and Ginny Hand (Director, Holleran Center). Alvernia students Heather Shainline, Danielle Cortes, and Kerry Boyle also joined the staff team.

The South Reading Youth Initiative (SRYI), a free program designed for youth aged 7-14 who live or go to school in the South Reading area, provides after-school and summer programming supported by faculty, staff and students of Alvernia University. These programs have been generously supported by federal and state grants as well as local funders. Founded in 2006, the SRYI aims to promote continued education, mentoring and support for healthy choices through exposure to arts, culture and educational opportunities within Greater Reading.

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.