NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. (WHTM) — On June 17, abc27 employees are volunteering at Medard’s House to celebrate Nexstar’s Founder’s Day and give back to our community.
Photos from Founder’s Day 2021 at Medard’s House
Medard’s House is a faith-based, non-denominational nonprofit that was created in honor of Medard Kowalski Jr., who passed away in a canoeing accident in 2014. The organization aims to provide a support network for teens in grades 6-12, offering mentoring, academic assistance, physical fitness, guest speaker opportunities, and more for youth in the West Shore community.
“We support the kids in a lot of areas where we see a need,” says Saundra Colello, founder and executive director of Medard’s House. “We just kind of jump in wherever we possibly can.”
When leaders at the nonprofit see a need, they find a way to fill it. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they realized that several of the kids in their program could benefit from counseling, so they helped them access the care they needed.
Although the pandemic temporarily impacted Medard’s House’s programming, the organization was able to reopen its doors in September, incorporating plenty of sanitizing to keep everyone healthy. “We knew that [for] the kids’ mental/emotional health, they needed to be together and they needed to be on property,” says Colello.
“Kids are so social, and a lot of them have given up their sports, their activities, and so we felt — because we were trying to meet their needs spiritually, mentally, emotionally — that we really needed to be the beacon. And we were,” Colello says.
Before Medard’s House became a formal nonprofit, Colello and others in the community would get together with local teens after school. Teens would meet at Colello’s house to hang out, eat a good meal, and occasionally do activities like camping or kayaking.
“What we realized was the overwhelming need for these kids not only just to have a place to go, but to be together,” says Colello.
One of the kids who spent time at Colello’s house was Medard Kowalski. After he passed away, Colello and others in the community decided to formalize their nonprofit status to continue caring for and providing a healthy space for youth in the community.
The owners of a church in New Cumberland donated their building to house Medard’s House in 2017, and that’s where abc27 volunteers went today to help pull weeds, mulch gardens, mow, weed whack, and more.
“We want to keep the place looking pretty for the community,” says Colello, “We want our community to want us here.”
While abc27 volunteers helped with the maintenance of the building’s green space, Colello explains that the organization has plans to update some of the outdoor space with a renovated ballpark, a skatepark, a pavilion, a ninja warrior obstacle course, and some additional athletic fields.
Medard’s House provides home-cooked meals for its teens, but the organization is planning to add a farm-to-table program this summer, as well, in which participants will learn how to grow, harvest, and cook their own crops.
The nonprofit is also starting a “handyman” club in which teens can learn technical skills like diagnosing a leaky faucet, changing a tire, using power tools, and more.
Anyone interested in volunteering at Medard’s House can email email@example.com. More information about volunteering with the organization can be found online here. Individuals can also donate to Medard’s House here.