QUEENS, N.Y. – While the holiday break is an opportunity for many of America’s student-athletes to rest up and prepare for seasons ahead, eight Red Storm student-athletes will soon be packing their bags and traveling to the Dominican Republic during their time off to spread St. John’s University’s Vincentian mission and share this special time of year with children in need.
Red Storm women’s soccer student-athletes Kelly Crevani, Casey Marks, Amy Marron and Shelby Halasz, and Red Storm baseball student-athletes Dan Roland, James Lomangino, Bret Dennis and Matt Clancy will be traveling to La Romana, D.R., to volunteer at Orfanato Niños de Cristo, an orphanage that houses more than 165 children from the Dominican Republic and Haiti who have been abandoned or subject to abuse of many forms.
The St. John’s student-athletes will be leaving for La Romana on Jan. 5, and will spend Jan. 7-9 at the orphanage. In a joint effort between the women’s soccer and baseball programs, the Red Storm student-athletes will be leading a soccer clinic on the first day and a baseball clinic on the second day. On Jan. 9, the student-athletes will be cooking meals with the children.
“I am very excited to spend some of the winter break working at the orphanage,” said Roland, a redshirt junior for the Red Storm. “We are all so fortunate to have the opportunity to be St. John’s student-athletes and it is going to be a rewarding experience to give back to those that are less fortunate.”
Serving as guide to the contingent from Queens, N.Y., while in the Dominican Republic will be Crevani, a Rockleigh, N.J., native and freshman goalkeeper for the Red Storm whose family has been involved with the orphanage since 2007. The Crevanis, who sponsor two children from Orfanato Niños de Cristo named Taylor and Yakhira, work with the orphanage several times a year, spending a few days with the children as well as bringing clothes, shoes and toiletries down to the Dominican Republic.
A registered 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, Orfanato Niños de Cristo does not allow children from the orphanage to be adopted, but donors can sponsor children and keep in regular contact with them as well as send them additional items depending on their needs. Together with its donors, Orfanato Niños de Cristo works daily to transform the lives of children by providing a safe and loving environment which will enable them to grow into caring and productive members of the community.
Crevani says her past experiences at Orfanato Niños de Cristo have been some of the most rewarding in her life.
“Working with the orphanage for the past seven years has been contagious,” said Crevani. “The children of the orphanage have become extended family, which we look forward to visiting for special occasions. We receive more from these children than we give. These children teach us far more about life than any experience comparable. We are always greeted with smiles and hugs from their familiar faces, reminding us how happy they are with so little.”
Crevani adds that involving her fellow Red Storm student-athletes in her family’s service in the Dominican Republic was a simple and logical decision.
“Every year, we invite family and friends to join us on our trip to the orphanage,” said Crevani. “St. John’s athletes have become my extended family with whom I want to share this experience.”
Check back on www.RedStormSports.com on Jan. 8-10 to read first-hand accounts from the Red Storm student-athletes as they volunteer at Orfanato Niños de Cristo.
About Orfanato Niños de Cristo
Together with its donors, Orfanato Niños de Cristo is working daily to transform the lives of children by providing a safe and loving environment which will enable them to grow into caring and productive members of the community. Orfanato Niños de Cristo provides the support the children need as part of a responsible family: love, physical, emotional and spiritual support, the nutrition and health care that every child deserves, and a quality education from a school that will provide them the opportunity to optimize their potential. For more information or to become a donor, please visit www.ninosdecristo.org.