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UNH Student Volunteer Efforts Earn Fidelity Community Service Awards

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
March 24, 2010

L to R: Sean Clancy (UNH instructor), Montana Leeman (Kearsarge Indian Museum), Samantha Pheffer (student), and Joe Murray (director of public affairs, Fidelity Investments)

Noah Kabbara has benefited from having lots of mentors in his life – parents, siblings, teachers, and friends. So when the UNH student had the chance to volunteer with a local nonprofit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Seacoast was at the top of his list.

“Sometimes in life you have to look at yourself and the situation you’re in and be thankful. I realized that I am extremely lucky to be able to live a great life and go to college. So when I heard that we had to do a community service project for this class, I was excited. I searched a bit, but soon came to the conclusion that I wanted to be a big brother,” Kabbara says.

Kabbara, of Nottingham, is one of four students at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics honored recently with a Fidelity Investments Community Service Award, in recognition of their outstanding service projects with area nonprofits. Honorees are enrolled in the Whittemore School's Introduction to Business course taught by Ross Gittell, James R. Carter Professor of Management, and have completed a minimum of eight hours of community service to learn about corporate social responsibility.

Kabbara says that he and his ‘little brother’, who is in the third grade, spend time together doing homework and playing sports. “Hopefully, I can positively impact my little brother’s life and help him to grow up to be a respectable man,” he says.

L to R: Gregg Moore (UNH instructor), Kasey Tucker (Seacoast Math), Kaitlyn Stefanski, and Joe Murray (director of public affairs, Fidelity Investments)

On Feb. 17, 2010, the group of finalists attended a special UNH reception and awards ceremony with Fidelity Investments employees, many of whom are UNH alumni. During the event, course instructors announced the four winning entries, which were gleaned from nearly 700 student volunteer project nominations. 

Winning student entries received a $1,000 Fidelity grant to benefit the nonprofit where they completed their volunteer work. On average, the students in the class donate more than 5,000 hours of service a year. 

“Since the program’s inception more than six years ago, hundreds of students have gained first-hand knowledge of the importance of giving back to their community, from a personal and corporate citizenship perspective,” said Joe Murray, senior director of public affairs for Fidelity. “When the nonprofit community graciously opens its doors to these students, they quickly learn how easy and meaningful it is to respond to the needs of our communities. It is our hope that these students will continue to give back as they enter the New Hampshire workforce and become tomorrow’s leaders.”

Kaitlyn Stefanski of Weare volunteered with Seacoast Math, teaching first-graders, but soon found that she was the one being taught. “They brought back the motivation I had as a young learner to explore, to investigate, to ask questions, and to be excited about what I was learning,” she says.

L to R: Sean Clancy (UNH instructor), Nicole Hallissey (Families First Health and Support Center), Tim McCarthy and Lisa Lamir (students), and Joe Murray (director of public affairs, Fidelity Investments).

Lisa Lamir of Weymouth, Mass., and Tim McCarthy of Reading, Mass., worked with Families First Health and Support Center in Portsmouth, which provides homeless or struggling families with affordable health care. There they volunteered to cook and serve meals during “Family Fun Night” and spend time with children during the evening while their parents would receive mentoring and counseling.

“After discovering the personalities of each child, I came to understand the struggles that the families must face every day. One family struggled moving from church to church every night trying to get in the few hours of sleep they could. Another family’s house burned down, leaving the parents and kids nothing but ash left. The Families First Center helps these families back on their feet, guiding them in the right direction,” Lamir says.

McCarthy says,” I learned a lot from this experience and I think that everyone should volunteer and spend a little time making someone else’s day as good as they possibly can. I know I learned a lot about myself and that I should not take things for granted because there are people out there who have little to nothing.”

Samantha Pheffer of Bradford designed two weeks of educational craft projects that reflected Native American tribes for the Kearsarge Indian Museum’s summer camp.”As I have Native American blood, I felt this was an extension of personal and social interests for me, and that I could also learn some of the business aspects of running the camp,” she says.

L to R: Joan Barretto (Big Brothers Big Sisters), Noah Kabbara (student), Joe Murray (director of public affairs, Fidelity Investments), and Diane Devine (UNH instructor).

Through her volunteer experience, Pheffer says she learned more about Native American culture, running a nonprofit business, developing a strategic business plan and budget, and educating children.   

Fidelity Investments is one of the world's largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of over $3.2 trillion, including managed assets of $1.5 trillion as of December 31, 2009. Fidelity offers investment management, retirement planning, brokerage, and human resources and benefits outsourcing services to over 20 million individuals and institutions as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. The firm is the largest mutual fund company in the United States, the No. 1 provider of workplace retirement savings plans, the largest mutual fund supermarket, a leading online brokerage firm and one of the largest providers of custody and clearing services to financial professionals. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.



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