Since the seventh-grade, Amy Mallon, of Voorhees, has donated her time to local animal orphanages and other non-profits, as well as raised money to participate in events to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis and breast cancer.
“I am a people person,” Mallon said. “This is where I want to go with my career.”
Mallon, a 2011 graduate of Eastern Regional High School, is now a freshman at Rutgers-Camden majoring in marketing.
In her first semester, she was named one of 10 to the newly launched Civic Scholars program, which provides selected students with a $1,000 scholarship for the school year.
Students work closely with Rutgers-Camden faculty mentors to create meaningful projects in the community.
“The first class of Rutgers-Camden Civic Scholars consists of 10, first-year honors college students who have identified themselves as committed to effecting social change,” said Rutgers-Camden spokesman Mike Sepanic. “The Civic Scholars have served their communities around issues of poverty, access to health care, the environment, wildlife rescue, literacy and art awareness, drug and alcohol awareness, veterans, children with disabilities and human trafficking.”
The program is a perfect fit for Mallon, she said. This semester, she’s been spending her time at Neighborhood Center, Inc., on Kaighs Avenue, in Camden, which provides services and opportunities for growth to individuals and families in Camden.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Mallon and other Civic Scholars show up at 11 a.m. to begin preparing meals for residents. At noon, the students pass out plates. Some students keep notes of who comes through the door.
From 3 to 5 p.m., she hangs out with students and sometimes helps them with their homework. She said the program is a good way to keep kids off the streets.
Mallon is also signed up to pitch in at Urban Promise in Camden, where she’ll help tutor kids and lead them in fun and educational activities.
Before her experiences with the neighborhood center, she said she wasn’t too familiar with Camden. Now, she said, she is excited about spending time with the children and families she’s come to know and love.
“Camden gets a negative connotation. That’s not what it’s like at all,” Mallon said. “Everyone has a different story. It’s hard to believe what people have gone through.”
Mallon said she plans to stay involved with the program throughout the rest of her years at Rutgers-Camden. She said she hopes to do similar work post-college.
“In my life, I hope to run, coordinate or work with a non-profit,” she said. “At Rutgers-Camden, I am doing now what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
And because Mallon is part of the first class of Civic Scholars, next year, she and her colleagues will be charged with finding the next batch of scholars to share their gifts with the community.
“I love what I’m doing,” Mallon said.