MMI Preparatory School students completed community service projects throughout Greater Hazleton to commemorate the third annual Athena Ford ’01 Day of Service.
The Athena S. Ford ’01 Endowed Fund for Community Service was established in 2017 by members of the MMI Class of 2001 to honor their classmate, who passed away on October 23, 2016. This fund is restricted by MMI to be used solely for expenses needed to establish and perpetuate The Athena Ford ’01 Day of Service.
Sixth grade students, under the direction of advisors Anthony Cusat, Laurie Mele, and Amanda Shonk, joined the MMI Maintenance Department to complete projects at the MMI Athletic Field Complex and Schiavo Trail. Seventh grade students, with advisors Stella Boosalis, Michael Mele, and Jennifer Novotney, did work at the Freeland Little League field and later joined the sixth graders at the athletic complex.
Eighth grade students, along with advisors Patty Medvecky, Gabriela Moustardas, and Christina Spencer, helped at Country Heart Farm. Freshmen, under the guidance of Cheryl Bayo, Timothy Garvey and Kathryn Green visited Eckley Miners’ Village. Lisa Ferry and Michael Scaralato accompanied the sophomores in cleaning up the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails.
Juniors, along with advisors Syra Dewar, Grete Floryshak, Gerard Pierotti, Tina Lizbinski, and Vince Vella, conducted projects at Conyngham United Methodist Church, Valley West Little League field, and Whispering Willows Park. Seniors, under the direction of advisors Melissa McHale, Sara Myers, and Justin Vincent worked at the Butler Township Community Garden and Freedom Park/Valley East Little League complex.
Following the community service activities, everyone enjoyed a lunch courtesy of the MMI Parents Association.
Athena Ford’s entire life was marked by sincere empathy, care and concern for, and service to her fellow man. While a student at MMI, Ford started a chapter of Amnesty International, served on the Regional Planning Board for the Mid-Atlantic Region, and started a Yellow Ribbon Club to prevent teen suicide. After graduating in 2007 from Kenyon College, she was a community organizer in Philadelphia for Working America. She tirelessly worked in the field of health insurance reform, first for the support and passage of the ACA with the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, then as the statewide advocacy director for the Pennsylvania Health Action Network. Ford died in 2016 as a result of complications sustained in an automobile collision where she was a seat-belted passenger and suffered a traumatic brain injury. In addition to honoring Ford’s memory at MMI, Kenyon College awarded her it's most prestigious honor, the Kenyon Alumni Council Humanitarian Service Award, and the Keystone Research Project permanently named their annual Citizen Activist Award after her. Her legacy will not be forgotten, as she will continue to inspire MMI students to a life of service through this fund.