As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Georgian Court University, in partnership with the Lakewood Police Department, came together to stuff 190 toy animals for Teddy Bears for Tykes, a service project to help reduce trauma suffered by children exposed to violence, abuse, and other traumatic incidents.
The Student Government Association (SGA) sponsored the service project and purchased the new teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Throughout the day on October 25, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and Lakewood police officers stopped into the Gavan Lounge to stuff an animal or two. The result was a colorful array of toy bears, pandas, monkeys, lambs, and more, all of which were donated to the Lakewood Police.
“The reason we are doing this is because addressing early trauma, both physical and mental, especially for young people, is extremely important,” said Cory Corson, SGA School of Education liaison. “A stuffed animal can really help with emotional trauma. If children are panicking or upset, giving them a small stuffed animal to hug is something to comfort them.”
GCU President Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D., noted that the service project embodies the Mercy core values. “We’re very happy to partner with Lakewood Police Department,” Dr. Marbach said. “We know how important it is to serve the community. We want to help contribute in any way we can. We know that domestic violence is a problem, and we want to help the victims.”
Service Project Helps Children
Lakewood Police Officer Michael Dennis said the stuffed toys will help the police when they go out to deal with a traumatic situation in which children are involved. “This gives us something that we can give the kids to comfort them and lift them up a little. Maybe they just witnessed something no child should see, and this will help make their situation a little easier.”
GCU alumna and Lakewood Police Officer Stephanie Campbell ’10 serves as a member of the Coordinated Community Response Team in GCU’s EMPOWER program, which engages the campus community in preventing, responding, and advocating against sexual assault and relationship violence.
Officer Campbell said the service project also benefits students. “For the students, it teaches them to give back. It’s really important for them to understand the outside perspective and what occurs on the other end,” said Officer Campbell. “It also helps criminal justice majors understand the other things that the police do, the other aspects of the job, especially when it comes to dealing with kids and victims who’ve been through tragic incidents.”
Nicole Mossbacher ’15, GCU’s Office of Violence Against Women program specialist, said that “this really connects and builds our partnership with the Lakewood Police Department by bringing the community together so that we can help our children who are affected by domestic violence. It’s great when we can all join in and pull together a campus-wide event like this.”
Georgian Court University Named Nonprofit Partner of the Year for Service
At Georgian Court University, all signs point to service—and it shows. The university was named Nonprofit Partner of the Year by the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce (GTRCC) at its 53rd Annual Awards Reception, held October 19 at Water’s Edge in Berkeley Township.
“We are grateful to the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce for the recognition,” said GCU President Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D. He noted that in addition to educating more than 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students, GCU promotes its Mercy core values—respect, compassion, integrity, justice, and service—in its work with local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and partnership organizations.
He credited the GCU Office of Career Services, Corporate Engagement, and Continuing Education with playing a strong role in building those relationships—especially when it means exploring internship and employment opportunities for Georgian Court students.
“We are always looking to strengthen business and community relationships,” said Dr. Marbach. “This recognition culminates a very special week for GCU. It comes just days after we hosted hundreds of law enforcement officers and officials from Ocean County at our Blue Mass ceremony on campus and on the heels of receiving a proclamation from the Ocean County Freeholders for our efforts to prevent sexual violence and domestic abuse. And now, being named nonprofit of the year—we are honored,” he said.
The recognition by the GTRCC was noted by a congratulatory letter for all awardees from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, as well as a joint legislative resolution by the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly and a Congressional proclamation from the Office of the Honorable Tom MacArthur for GCU’s award.
Giving Back to the Community
Overall, the university is always looking for ways to strengthen its impact beyond the campus.
“While all of GCU’s core values are important, the guiding principle of service drives our commitment to help others expand possibility for themselves and for others,” said Dr. Marbach.
Each year, Georgian Court invests more than $12 million in institutional scholarships to help students afford college, and GCU is consistently recognized for giving back. The university was honored in 2016 and 2017 as a “Company Who Cares” by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, and nationally by the President’s Community Service Honor Roll. Last year, GCU reported that faculty, staff, students, and alumni contributed 94,745 volunteer hours to area nonprofit organizations.
Categories: Independent Public Mission Schools