Geneva Heroes Give Back – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Geneva Heroes Give Back

It’s 9 a.m. on Saturday morning when Geneva Heroes meet to embark on their project, service opportunity or activity for the day. Geneva Heroes is an eight-week student run leadership program that is compromised of 11 HWS students and 25 students from local middle and high schools. 

Raphael Durand ’13, one of the program coordinators, believes the program “offers the students a chance to become active in their community.” Since a majority of the high school students who are involved participated in the program in middle school they are able to not only give back but also “gain leadership experience, serving as leaders to the middle school students.”

This semester, the group has already visited the Casawasco Retreat Center and the Geneva Public Library. The group visits the Geneva Public Library every year to help them set up for their annual book sale. The group will  volunteer at Happiness House, an organization that provides services to individuals with and without disabilities; Wayne Finger Lakes Secondary School; Wayne Humane Society Animal Shelter; Geneva YMCA; and the Festival of Nations, an event hosted at Geneva High School. Locations are chosen based on their need for a large group and the students’ abilities to connect with various members of the community.

What motivates the program coordinators to give their Saturday mornings? For Sarah Gall ’11, “I decided to participate in the program my first year because I wanted to meet new people and get involved in the Geneva community.  It has now become a big part of my college experience.” Raphael has “always enjoyed working with kids and aspires to one day be a coach. Therefore, Geneva Heroes was a perfect fit since it is a program that I care about and at the same time I am able to do something productive on my Saturday morning.”

Past activities have included cleaning and landscaping at Lakeview Mental Health and participating in activities with the residents of Seneca Terrace assisted living center.

For more information or to find out how to become involved you can e-mail

Note: On February 22, an op-ed was published in the Finger Lakes Times about the group’s work at the Geneva Public Library. The text of that letter follows.

Finger Lakes Times
Students generously assisted library’s book sale

February 22, 2011

To the Editor:

The Friends of the Geneva Public Library wish to acknowledge the very generous help they have received in setting up for their annual March book sale from students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva and DeSales high schools, and Geneva Middle School. This month, about 40 students represented the HWS-sponsored “Heroes” group and about 30 represented the Geneva Rotary-sponsored Interact Club.

Heroes and Interactors are very active volunteers in the Geneva community; their contribution of time and effort for our book sale is just one of their many activities. I am certain the other organizations for which they volunteer feel as we do: We could not carry on without them! Thank you, Heroes and Interactors.

Paul Kirsch, Secretary
Friends of the Geneva Public Library