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Alumni Association awards 2024 Lennon Life Prizes

The Notre Dame Alumni Association recognized nine alumni clubs as recipients of the Lennon Life Prize — part of the Chuck and Joan Lennon Gospel of Life Initiative, a set of programs focused on encouraging the University’s dedicated network of clubs to uphold the value of life at all stages.

The Notre Dame Alumni Association recognized nine alumni clubs as recipients of the Lennon Life Prize — part of the Chuck and Joan Lennon Gospel of Life Initiative, a set of programs focused on encouraging the University’s dedicated network of clubs to uphold the value of life at all stages.

The Notre Dame clubs are recognized for their involvement in a number of projects that will assist at-risk mothers and children, expectant and young mothers, those experiencing homelessness, refugees and immigrant populations and the medically underserved.

For the fifth straight year, four award winners have collected $5,000 awards from memorials on behalf of the late Chuck Lennon. The clubs of Central New Jersey, Central New York/Syracuse, Lehigh Valley and New Haven earned this funding to support the execution of their proposed projects. The clubs of Buffalo/Western New York, Greater Boston, Hilton Head, Pittsburgh and Tucson received $500 honorable mention awards.

The Lennon Gospel of Life Initiative was co-created with Chuck Lennon and his wife, Joan. Chuck, who served as executive director of the Alumni Association and associate vice president of University Relations for 31 years, retired in 2011 and died in 2019.

Together with the Catholic Church’s long-standing defense of all human life, the Gospel of Life Initiative seeks to provide support to vulnerable populations around the world. The Lennon Life Prize supports clubs as they generate a host of ideas to impact their local communities through innovative use of funding and involvement of club members.

Central New Jersey

The Notre Dame Club of Central New Jersey plans to support at-risk children and young mothers, particularly those disadvantaged by a history of trauma, abuse and addiction. The club aims to create children’s programming to promote healthy development through a partnership with Katy’s Place, a licensed childhood development center, and the Center for Great Expectations, which supports women recovering from substance use disorders, trauma and mental health disorders and their children. Additionally, the club plans to create complementary educational programming for mothers that would include offerings such as first aid and safety training, nutrition and cooking classes, financial literacy training and more.

Central New York/Syracuse

Partnering with Chadwick Residence, a shelter for at-risk families, the Notre Dame Club of Central New York/Syracuse plans to host a fundraising event to support the facilities and services offered by the organization. Chadwick Residence provides supportive housing and a variety of professional services for homeless women and their children in an environment that empowers them to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to increase their self-sufficiency. After the pandemic negatively impacted the success of the organization’s annual fundraiser and following the loss of a maintenance grant, Chadwick Residence is in need of additional funding for facility repairs and updates.

Lehigh Valley

The Notre Dame Club of Lehigh Valley will use its winnings in support of Cay Galgon Life House, which provides vital case management and counseling services, social service agency referrals and basic necessities to impoverished and disadvantaged expectant or new mothers in the community. As part of its initiative, the club will assist in the creation of an internship to aid case managers in their outreach efforts, launch a literacy initiative to provide English- and Spanish-language children’s books alongside local Catholic schools, and convene a Family Volunteer Camp On the Road project to provide volunteers over the summer to assist with cleaning, landscaping, painting and organizing donations.

New Haven

For the Notre Dame Club of New Haven, the Lennon Life Prize will support funding for VOSH-CT, a grassroots program that provides affordable eye care to underserved patients in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. The program, started in 2001 by optometrist Matthew Blondin, a 1975 Notre Dame graduate, examines thousands of patients in just four days each year. More than a dozen optometrists travel to support the project, including New Haven club president Liz Moore, a 2011 Notre Dame graduate.

Honorable Mentions

The five clubs earning honorable mentions will perform a diverse array of projects addressing issues related to refugee resettlement, immigration, families in need, homelessness and affordable health care.

 

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