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Students and Professor Embark on the Institution's Second Global Humanitarian Service Project Trip

03/17/2014, 10:03 AM

Hackettstown, N.J. – Two Centenary students and an adjunct professor are traveling to Guatemala this week with one goal in mind – to make a difference.  As part of the second group to embark on a Global Humanitarian Service Project at Centenary, these individuals will be working with Soles4Souls, Inc. an international anti-poverty organization that monetizes used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts, including distribution of new shoes and clothing.

The two students who are participating in this experience with Adjunct Professor Anjana Desai are Ithrana Lawrence from Malaysia and Catherine Santander from Bloomfield, N.J.  Desai, Lawrence and Santander will join 14 other people, including two representatives from Soles4Souls, to distribute shoes to upwards of 1,000 children.  Last year, Desai partnered with Soles4Souls and brought two students to Costa Rica for a similar opportunity.

“This will be a very good experience for students to do humanitarian work and also experience the culture and mingle with the local people,” says Desai.  “I started working with this organization in the Fall of 2010 and through my Global Studies and Global Humanitarian class project we have collected more than 750 pairs of shoes over the last several years to be distributed.  I feel that we cannot change the whole world by our actions, but we can make the world a better place through each positive action.”

This opportunity appealed to Lawrence and Santander because, in addition, to helping others, they will learn about a country that they were not previously familiar with.  In addition to shoe distribution at various feeding centers, they will have the opportunity to tour church and Mayan ruins and visit Santo Domingo.

“I have completed humanitarian projects with my family when we visit our home country of Ecuador,” says Santander.  “It is a value of mine that has been deeply instilled in me by my family’s actions.  Working with Soles4Souls, however, is a new and valuable experience for me.”

Both students have aspirations to continue on to graduate school after they graduate from Centenary in May.

Under the direction of Dr. Shane Fitzpatrick, Associate Professor of International Studies, Centenary College is one of the few colleges in the United States that requires students in some majors to complete global humanitarian service in order to graduate.  All students enrolled in the Global Studies major are required to complete the project through an internship in the offices of a global humanitarian organization or by completing humanitarian work outside of the United States.

About Soles4Souls
Soles4Souls, Inc. is a nonprofit social enterprise that advances the fight against global poverty by monetizing used shoes and clothing to create sustainable jobs and fund direct relief efforts around the world.  The organization collects new and used shoes and clothes from individuals, schools, faith based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners, then distributes those shoes and clothes both via direct donations to people in need and through qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities.  Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Soles4Souls is committed to the highest standards of operating and governance, and holds a four-star rating with Charity Navigator.  Please visit www.soles4souls.org for more information.

About Centenary College
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary College’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix is designed to provide an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world.

Centenary College’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County).  The Centenary College School of Professional Studies offers degree programs in two locations: Parsippany and Edison, and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.  The School of International Programs recruits international students for study at Centenary and Centenary students for stud