In an effort to fulfill its commitment to help others, volunteers from St. Philip’s Church in the Highlands crossed the Hudson River to Newburgh and also flew to New Orleans last month to perform service projects to help try to improve lives of those in need.
The Newburgh project was done in collaboration with parents, students and board members of San Miguel Academy in preparation for its relocation. The academy educates 65 boys from under-served families in inner-city Newburgh. San Miguel aims to break the cycle of poverty through education.
For two days on a November weekend, families from Philipstown and Newburgh worked side-by-side cleaning and painting classrooms at the site for the school. St. Philip’s Church plans to follow up by recruiting volunteers to assist with tutoring and after-school activities with an emphasis on the arts.
Volunteers also helped with a project to renovate a storm-ravaged home in the Bywater neighborhood, which had been donated to Calvin Duncan, who unjustly spent almost three decades in Angola Prison in Louisiana for a crime he did not commit. The courts freed him from a life sentence in 2011 after prolonged efforts by the Innocence Project.
Working with Duncan last month, the seven St. Philip’s volunteers replaced rotten floor joists, leveled the house, installed subflooring, and cleaned the property.
Volunteers participating at San Miguel in Newburgh were Marianne and Dyke Benjamin, Jim Bopp, Mike and Lynn Carano, David Gordon, Dan McEvoy, Susan MacLean, Blake and Belle Newton, Jim Platz, Nat Prentice, Marcus Plummer, Javen Stepp-Davis, Manuel Vazquez and workers from the VADO Corporation.
St. Philip’s Cross Trainer youth group volunteers included Devin Akbas, Chris Buonanno, Alex Lupetin, Thomas Lupetin, Ben McGowan, Connor O’Reilly, Kristin Serrand, Shawn Sharifi, Sophie Stark, William Stark as well as Leader Terri Akbas, assisted by Leslie Lupetin and Panni Gergely.
St. Philip’s New Orleans volunteers were Bill Bopp, Jim Bopp, Ken Buxton, Greg Gunder, Phil Guttridge, Dan McEvoy and Joe Plummer.
St. Philip’s welcomes participation of community volunteers regardless of religious affiliation. Contact Rev. Frank Geer at [email protected].
Photos courtesy St. Philip’s Church
Video by Gregory Gunder