This summer, Amy Russo ’17 is learning what it means to be a community leader in the City of Syracuse. Russo has been named Park Central Presbyterian Church’s first college intern and is working with the parish’s associate for Christian education to further the church’s outreach.
During her internship, Russo will help to facilitate the church’s Summer Bible School Program, which is set to welcome more than 60 young people from the area. As a partner of the Salvation Army, the program will offer children a consistent and nurturing environment in which to explore concepts related to faith. Since she will be heavily involved in this program, a component of Russo’s internship is spiritual in nature.
“The internship provides assistance to the church in its summer mission programs while also helping the intern to grow in their faith,” she says.
In addition to facilitating the Bible School Program, Russo is tasked with setting up pre-worship activities on Sundays including spaces for prayer, journaling and meditation. She also has plans to organize the church’s storage and aid with the decoration of its nursery following a renovation project. The many hours that Russo is spending in the church this summer offers her a unique perspective on community outreach and direction.
“I now see what goes into planning and preparing for programs and activities and what is required to run the church and keep it organized,” she explains. “I am excited to be learning even more about the inner workings of the church while developing valuable experience and strengthening my partnerships there.”
Yet Russo is not a newcomer to the church. She has been a Park Central parish member for many years, in which she has grown increasingly involved with its leadership. She served as a Ruling Elder on the Board of Session as well as a member of the Mission Committee. These activities already correspond with her intended career path.
“I have a strong interest in different religions, foreign languages and global cultures,” Russo says. “Having the opportunity to work in a church provides me not only with hands-on experience in a religious organization, but with the opportunity to work alongside invaluable mentors that encourage my interest in my faith.”
Russo is currently pursuing a degree in French and intends to declare a second major in religious studies with a minor in Middle Eastern studies. Next semester, she will serve as a Writing Colleague mentor for incoming first-year students. She is also public relations officer for the English Country Dancing Club, which offers an array of dancing opportunities for the HWS community and beyond throughout the academic year.