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Fairfield's Sacred Heart Helps Bridgeport's Lighthouse Program

Fairfield's Sacred Heart University student Tom Barcia works with students in the Lighthouse Program at the Discovery Cultural Magnet School in Bridgeport.
Fairfield's Sacred Heart University student Tom Barcia works with students in the Lighthouse Program at the Discovery Cultural Magnet School in Bridgeport. Photo Credit: Courtesy Tracy Deer-Mirek

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- The City of Bridgeport recently gave Fairfield's Sacred Heart University nearly $530,000 for the before- and after-school Lighthouse program.

Sacred Heart is set to coordinate education programs at several Bridgeport centers in partnership that dates back to 1998, according to a press release. The Bryant, Columbus, Discovery Magnet, both before and after school, Geraldine Johnson, Madison and John Winthrop locations will receive 15 to 20 undergraduates who "will work toward reaching 650 of the city's at-risk elementary pupils," according to the release.

"The university regularly sponsors volunteer efforts for students who mentor and coach youngsters," representatives said in the release. "The Lighthouse program draws not only those who plan to become educators but students from a wide variety of disciplines."

The Sacred Heart University mentors help with homework preparation and lead a variety of programs, including music, dance and sports, according to the release.

“Our students are engaged in a large number of community projects," said Matthew Kaye, director of volunteer programs at the university, in the release. "They include our award-winning Habitat for Humanity work, an immersion experience in Bridgeport city life called Community Connections, international humanitarian relief work and more.”

Sacred Heart recently extended a program called the SHU-North End Partnership that is organized with city counselors Tom McCarthy and Michelle Lyons to "connect students with elderly residents and assist them with the upkeep of their homes," according to the release.

The SHU-North End Partnership started with a project to clean the baseball fields at Blackham Elementary School, according to the release.

“Over the past decade, Sacred Heart students and faculty have shown overwhelming support for the Lighthouse Program," said Tammy Papa, Lighthouse Program director, in the release. "We feel privileged to have such a wonderful resource in our own back yard and are confident that the relationship between the university and the City of Bridgeport Lighthouse Program will continue to grow, benefiting even more Bridgeport children and families in the years to come."

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