Helping hands: Students helping Hamden

By on October 6, 2004

Do you want to lend a helping hand? Do you want to make a difference in the lives of others? Joining the university’s Community Action Project, or CAP, program can help you fulfill your dreams.

CAP is a student run organization that dedicates their time and energy to community service. Their goal is to make a difference in the lives of others living primarily in the New Haven and Hamden area.

“CAP brings different people together who want to be involved in the community,” senior marketing major Melissa Nappi, president of CAP, said.

This semester the group has several events planned. The club is divided into different branches, such as Youth, the Elderly, Different Abilities, and the Homeless. The various branches allow students the opportunity to sign up for events based on their interests.

The Youth group plans on helping out at high school dances. Every year they plan a Youth Halloween Party on campus and invite area elementary students. In addition, children from area elementary schools are invited to the campus for “Youth Days” to participate in crafts. CAP is involved in the Big Brother Big Sister program in which two students are paired with a child who needs a role model. The intent of the program is to form a relationship with a child who needs guidance.

Members from the Elderly group plan on doing crafts, pumpkin painting, and singing carols with the elderly at Laurel Gardens in Hamden.

“We are arranging a holiday party for the elderly. Last year we had a small orchestra play while we enjoyed a variety of food. The elderly really enjoyed interacting with the college students,” Dawn Miller, head of the Elderly branch, said.

The club is working on other events as well, such as going to Food Pantries and soup kitchens to help feed the hungry. The group is also involved in the Cooking Care Walk-a-thon, which benefits three different groups: fish, interfaith volunteers, and the community soup kitchen.

CAP students have the opportunity to work with a mentally challenged individual in the Best Buddies program. Together they participate in activities such as bowling or going to the movies.

“I joined CAP as a freshman and continue to enjoy it because of the reactions I receive from the people I help. Because of this I know I have made a difference, and this makes me feel good in return,” Miller, a junior legal studies and psychology major, said.

“I have the pleasure of advising CAP; they were very successful in getting students involved in volunteerism and service activities last year and I know they are going to continue in this success,” Assistant Director of Community Service and Experiential Learning Carleen Roy-Butler, said.

CAP allows students to see that they can make a difference in someone’s life.

“This club helped me realize how fortunate I am and how much I make in difference in the lives I help at each event I attend. No matter how small or large an event, you can make a difference,” Nappi said.

CAP meetings are on Tuesdays at 7:45-8:45. If interested in joining email or


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