Student-leaders began the new semester with an inspiring orientation session held recently under the direction of Brother Tyrone Davis, C.F.C., executive director of the Archdiocese of New York’s Office of Black Ministry, at our foundation’s headquarters in Manhattan.
Brother Tyrone and Leah Dixon, associate director of the archdiocese’s Pierre Toussaint Scholarship Fund & Program, hosted nearly 30 students taking part in a new initiative administered by the scholarship program and funded by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation: “Pierre Toussaint – Mother Cabrini Scholars.”
The program began in January 2022 to provide scholarships to student-leaders majoring in various areas of science and social work, with an aim to entering the workforce to contribute to healthier families, churches, and communities. Pierre Toussaint – Mother Cabrini Scholars are preparing for careers and ministries in medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health, dietary science, counseling, bio-medical engineering, social work, and related areas.
“The purpose of the Pierre Toussaint – Mother Cabrini Scholars program is to support the development of mature, faith-filled, 21st century leaders in various areas of healthcare and social work,” said Brother Tyrone.
Added Ms. Dixon, “We provide support, mentorship, and networking opportunities for gifted student-leaders/scholars and soon-to-be-professionals in their chosen fields, in the hope they will positively impact the health and wellness of families and communities, especially those with heightened economic and healthcare needs.”
Pierre Toussaint (1766-1853), born a slave in Haiti, became a successful entrepreneur in New York City, and many credit him as the father of Catholic Charities in New York. Declared “venerable” by the Catholic Church in 1997, he is on a path to be canonized as North America’s first black saint.
At August’s orientation session, Brother Tyrone outlined the program’s objectives and process, and participants heard from foundation CEO Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo about the history and mission of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. Scholar-alumnus Deanna Giraldi presented about “The Intergenerational Impact of Gun Violence on Families & Communities,” and alumni scholars participated in a panel discussion on “The Mission & Challenges of Public Health & Healthcare Professionals.” The keynote speaker was Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, founder and CEO of The Balm in Gilead, Inc.
Afterwards, four Pierre Toussaint – Mother Cabrini Scholars — Britney Asamoah, Mary Lou De Jesus, Malaika Dewes, and Jason Do — shared stories about what inspires their commitment to healthcare and social work, and how the scholarship program has made their journeys possible.