By Cary Shuman
Five Northeastern University students, including Revere resident Cheryl A. Leon, teamed up for a volunteer project to help the New England Center for Homeless Veterans in Boston.
Leon and four of her NU classmates, Linda Aylward, Savanna Bullard, Elaine Moore, and Paula Foukas, will receive bachelorâ€™s degrees in leadership at the commencement ceremony in May. For their final school assignment, the five women collected much-needed starter kits for the 250 veterans who are clients at the center.
Their goal in the 12-week project was to provide each client with a care package of articles that the center has determined to be the most needed items. The care packages that the five students personally delivered to the center last Wednesday included Chapstick, sunscreen wipes, deodorant, combs, hand wipes, key chains, hand lotion, toothpaste, toothbrushes, tissues, plastic ponchos, and soap.
â€œBecause weâ€™re graduating with a degree in leadership, we decided to undertake a project in which we could apply our leadership skills and aid our veterans,â€ said Leon, who works as a paralegal in the Law Department at Revere City Hall. â€œWe contacted the shelter and found out what items they needed. We sent a letter to friends and co-workers asking for their assistance in securing these items.â€
Last week, the women assembled at Leonâ€™s home in Revere to place all the articles in individual bags and prepare them for delivery to the center in Boston. â€œOur goal was to come up with 250 starter kits for each one of the veterans,â€ said Leon. â€œWe wanted to show our gratitude and appreciation for their services as members of the armed forces.â€
Aylward said the project and their pursuit of college degrees while being parents have served as a good lesson in community service and perseverance for their children. â€œOur children are watching us manage the home, go to work, do our homework, pursue our college degrees, and help out the veterans who served our country,â€ said Aylward.
Leon thanked the Sheraton Four Points Hotel, Rainaâ€™s Hair Studio, Dr. Louis Devito, the McKinley School PTA, the Revere Veterans Affairs Office at Revere City Hall, the Revere Police Department, Tom McCormick, and Mickey â€œSay No to Drugsâ€ Casoli for their contributions to the project.