SCRANTON — When Cecilia Strauch, of Factoryville, decided to take a “gap year” between her graduation from The University of Scranton and the start of medical school, she knew she wanted to do “something meaningful” with that time.
With several options in front of her, there was something about the The Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) that held the current senior student’s attention.
The 2012 Lackawanna Trail High School salutatorian explained it seemed whenever she mentioned the idea to an acquaintance, he or she either was personally connected or knew someone else who had a positive experience with the JVC, which claims to be the largest lay Catholic full-time volunteer program in the world.
“I kept hearing good things about the program from people I talked to about it,” she said.
Then the deal-maker came when she attended The Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in November in Washington, D.C., where she was able to meet and speak with some JVC representatives who manned a booth at the conference.
Strauch, along with two other classmates, Marisa Riley and Cailin Potami, also seniors from The University of Scranton, plan to spend a year of full-time volunteer service with the JVC starting in August.
In order to help fulfill fundraising requirements for the venture, the three young women, along with the help of other community members, are planning a fundraiser, “A Musical Celebration,” to be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 10 at the Rossetti House, 1005 Vine St., Scranton. The cost is a donation of $25 payable to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
The event will feature Vocal Accord, a local barbershop quartet. Also on the lineup are Heather Burdick, Gary Richards, Katrina Eibach, Cathy Rist Strauch as master of ceremonies, and accompanist Ken McGraw. All three students will serve the guests while they enjoy fine food, wine and entertainment. In addition, Strauch will perform on the piano and clarinet and Riley as a singer.
McGraw, a Clarks Green resident, said he looks forward to the celebration and hopes for a good turnout.
“We’re doing some Broadway, we’re doing some old songs. …I think it’s a combination of everything,” he said.
He added he believes people will have a good time not only taking in the entertainment, but the venue itself.
“It’s a unique building,” he said. “It’s something for everyone to see what’s in there – between the chandeliers and the artifacts. And they have a great grand piano, which I use when I play for them, for the singers. It’s a great venue.”
The Rossetti Estate and Trust for the Arts, headed by Fr. Mark Rossetti, following the legacy of the late Jean Rossetti, exists to “support and promote the arts and artists in the Scranton area,” according to its Facebook page. It offers the use of the Victorian Gothic home free of charge as a venue for area performing artists. All proceeds from the event will help support the students’ upcoming service with the JVC.
Strauch, a presidential scholarship recipient at The University of Scranton, is majoring in biology and philosophy, with a minor in Spanish. She also performs in the university’s concert band and string orchestra and plays piano, clarinet, bassoon, and violin.
During her year of service, she will volunteer full time as a clinic assistant at the Aurora Walker’s Point Community Clinic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Aurora Health Care, according to its website, is a “community-owned, not-for-profit Wisconsin health care system.”
“We are concerned with the overall welfare of our communities and we recognize that there are limits to the resources people can invest in health care,” reads the organization’s statement of commitment. “Working together, the people of Aurora are determined not only to provide services of the highest quality, but also to make those services affordable and accessible to every person in every community we serve.”
Strauch said it was this mission to serve people who are under-insured, along with the “hands on experience” it offers, that attracted her to this position.
Reservations for the fundraiser can be made by contacting Cathy Rist Strauch at 570-351-6842.