Human Services Class Assists Community Challenge

Published 10.31.2017

Human Services & Restorative Justice
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Racing to the finish, students in a human services class at Pennsylvania College of Technology are focused on completing an important assignment – helping to coordinate the third annual Community Challenge, benefiting the Salvation Army of Williamsport, which assists about 400 area families each month.

Set for Saturday, Nov. 11, the year’s Community Challenge features 5K, 10K and half-marathon trail races at the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority’s watershed property, 1600 Mosquito Valley Road, DuBoistown. Nearly 225 runners, ages 4 through 74, have already signed up to participate, with registration open until midday Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Community Challenge trophies and ornaments, crafted by Penn College ceramics instructors David A. and Deborah L. Stabley stand ready for the Nov. 11 trail races.Courses include a relatively flat and scenic 5K run through Shuler Woods, a 10K of single- and double-track trails through rolling hills, and a challenging half-marathon that will take participants over two mountains climbing nearly 2,000 feet on rugged single-track trails. Runners, hikers and walkers are all welcome.

Eleven students in the college’s Community and Organizational Change course are devoting significant time to the nonprofit endeavor. This is the second year Penn College students have pitched in with their expertise and enthusiasm.

“We really appreciate the students’ involvement and Penn College’s support, as well,” said Tony Perrotta, a public relations, program and fund development representative for the Salvation Army of Williamsport. “Without their efforts, we wouldn’t be able to put this on.”

The initiative raises funds to support the local Salvation Army’s tutoring, mentoring, food distribution, and financial planning and budgeting courses. In addition, proceeds will be used to help families provide a gift for their children at Christmas.

“It’s nice to work hard for a good cause,” said Marquis M. Delgado, a senior in applied human services from Mansfield.

Penn College students in the Community and Organizational Change course conduct meetings focused on logistics and public relations for the Community Challenge, set for Nov. 11 benefiting the Salvation Army of Williamsport. Joining the students in their discussions are Michael J. Reed (far left), dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications; Marilouise Mazzante (third from left), a community advocate and retired Williamsport Area School District educator and coach; and Tony Perrotta (far right), public relations, program and fund development representative with the local Salvation Army.“The Salvation Army is one of the most prolific organizations helping out people in our communities, and it’s impressive that 88 cents out of each dollar goes toward their programming to support families. That makes me want to work even harder. It’s very encouraging to see how much they’re putting toward their causes.”

The Penn College students are assisted in their efforts by their course instructor, Michael J. Reed, dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications, who is also vice chairman of the local Salvation Army Board of Directors.

“This project has provided a great opportunity for our students to experience the challenges of successfully organizing a large-scale event, and their efforts are making a significant difference in our community,” Reed said. “The funds being raised through this event are putting books into children’s hands, food on plates and helping families get back on their feet. The students’ selfless efforts are truly inspiring!”

More information on participating or donating to the Community Challenge is available through the Salvation Army.

College ceramics instructors and husband-and-wife duo David A. and Deborah L. Stabley crafted Community Challenge race awards in the form of ceramic trophies and holiday ornaments.

The Penn College cross-country team is an event sponsor, and 20 student-athletes will volunteer at the event.

For more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.