By Kevin Kim
With the closing of the 35th annual Senior Service Project (SSP), three Loyola seniors have been recognized for their service and leadership to the community by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Seniors Akinty Carter, Alexander Goodman and Fabrizio Robalino have been awarded the Christian Service Award for their efforts in serving the greater Los Angeles community. The awards were presented on March 16 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
Community Service Director Tom Zeko said, “The gentlemen all followed the message of being the change they want to see in the world. This quote relays the message of working and praying together for the common good,” Zeko said.
Akinty Carter, a member of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) USA Buddhists, started his Loyola service experience with the High School Placement Test (HSPT) tutoring sessions. Carter accumulated a total of 115 hours in 23 sessions participating in this tutoring program.
He said, “Seeing the kids that worked so hard in middle school yearn for a chance to attend a Catholic school of their dreams was an experience I had the pleasure to lead and make come true.”
Immersing himself in his Japanese culture, Carter also volunteered as a Japanese-English translator for students from Brigham Young and Loyola Marymount University in 2014 and 2015, respectively, who are engaged in health education seminars.
“Serving the community really opened me up to wanting to make people’s lives better and giving them a chance to live a more comfortable life. I am truly honored to be a recipient of the Christian Service Award. Many people work as hard as I do to serve the community, and I am glad that my efforts have reflected positively in the community.”
Goodman, a parishioner at Our Lady of Malibu Church, consistently participated at Los Angeles School on Wheels since 2013, a program focused on weekly tutoring and literacy skills sessions for homeless children living in the Skid Row Area.
He said, “Education and schooling is something many take for granted. Being able to watch homeless kids grow in mentality and enthusiasm for education, whether it be solving math problems or simply reading a book, put a smile in my face, knowing that I provided these kids a chance to pursue their dreams.”
Goodman’s SSP was at the Cardinal Manning St. Vincent De Paul Center on Skid Row, in which he participated for 80 hours. “It’s great to be receiving the award at a ceremony only five minutes away from where I’ve done all of my service, on Skid Row. Serving for four years has shown me how much an hour or three per week can impact someone else’s life.”
Robalino has also been recognized for his involvement in community service. Robalino led peer volunteer groups for Big Sunday from 2013 to 2015 acquiring 92 hours from this site.
He led volunteers that refurbished inner city grade schools, assisted in gardening projects and secured school supplies for students. He also volunteered for Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) in San Fernando Valley, where he helped collect, sort and deliver food and clothing supplies to needy families.
For his SSP, Robalino served at the Braille Institute as a volunteer instructor for arts and crafts. He volunteered in the publication center for school-age children, and he packaged and distributed educational materials for the blind in North America.
Robalino said, “I feel honored to receive the Christian Service Award. I understand that many students at Loyola perform many acts of service and volunteer work at many locations throughout Southern California and also across the U.S. and the world. To be a part of the community of service and thanksgiving at Loyola is rewarding and humbling at the same time.”
Mr. Zeko said, “Loyola is involved as a major high school in the Archdiocese known to offer the best service program in the region.”
Under the motto of “Men for and with Others,” “Carter, Goodman and Robalino have shown profound leadership and dedication to the benefit of the L.A. community,” Mr. Zeko said.