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Student Humanitarians Visit Mental Hospital, Tutor Ward 7 Children

Humanitarian Award Photo

Will Cousino (F’12), a chair of the Homecoming Humanitarian Award selection committee, stands with the first recipient of the Georgetown award, Jeremy Cairl (C’13), and Lindsey Dooner (C’12), who earned an outstanding honorable mention for her work.

October 24, 2011 – Jeremy Cairl (C’13), the first winner of a new student humanitarian award at Georgetown, has spent countless hours visiting residents at St. Elizabeth’s Mental Hospital in Southeast Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia area.

The award was presented Oct. 22 during Homecoming Weekend.

President of the hospital’s Outreach Organization, Cairl, a psychology major, has spent nearly every Friday for the past two years organizing trips with a small number of other students to talk, play games and listen to the facility’s patients.

Genuine Interaction

“Since the residents rarely get an opportunity for genuine social interaction with any one besides a therapist or doctor … [Cairl] provides a tremendously important and valuable service to these individuals…,” says Thomas Bosco (B’12), who nominated Cairl for the award, which carries with it a $2,000 scholarship.

The selection committee comprises students, faculty and staff, with the scholarship provided by the Corp., a student-run organization, and the university’s Office of Advancement.

“What I enjoy most about St. Elizabeth's Outreach is getting to know the residents of the hospital, getting close to them, laughing with them and hearing the incredible stories about their lives,” Cairl explains.

Education Equality

Lindsey Dooner (C’12) is this year’s outstanding honorable mention.

The Georgetown student participates in DC Reads, a literacy tutoring, mentoring and advocacy program that works with more than 400 low-income, underserved elementary school students in seven schools and two community centers in the District’s Ward 7.

“[Dooner] allows her dedication to a systemic solution for education inequality to permeate her entire life,” says nominator Elisa Manrique  (C’14). “It decides how she spends 20-30 hours a week of extra curricular time, how she spends her summers, what classes she picks…”

The children and families she works with, Dooner says, “bring me back to the community because it is due to them that our work makes an impact – they are the greatest partners and despite the obstacles we face, make every day worthwhile.”

Spirit of Service

Will Cousino (F’12), a non-voting chair of the selection committee, says the inaugural Homecoming Humanitarian Award was created to recognize a junior or senior who dedicates their time, talent and treasure to serving the wider D.C. community.”

“I hope the [award] becomes a tradition that recognizes Hoyas who exemplify a spirit of service and giving in line with Georgetown’s Jesuit ideals,” says Cousino, the service and outreach chair for the Corp board of directors. “The fact that nominations are submitted by peers and professors makes the award all the more special.”

Meaningful Contributions

A plaque, which will hang in a Georgetown lounge area, has been created with nameplates for the award’s recipients.

Jeanne Lord, associate vice president for student affairs, is a member of the selection committee.

“By establishing the Hoya Humanitarian Award, the Corp recognizes the many meaningful contributions that Georgetown students make to our community,” Lord says. “It was a privilege to serve on the selection committee for the first awards, and I was deeply impressed by the nominees and the ways in which their service reflects Georgetown's Jesuit and Catholic mission.”

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