Cabrini Health and Exercise Sciences students are volunteering to help those in need around the Norristown Transit Center as part of a Health Navigators program launched in February in partnership with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA). The program was formally announced at a launch event on Wednesday, April 20, at the Norristown Transit Center.
Four seniors have volunteered two mornings per week during the spring semester to provide guided support to individuals in need of assistance with housing or health and social issues, like addiction. The students work in teams of two, offering this vital information as well as small supplies like snacks and socks.
“This partnership, as Cabrini students collaborate with SEPTA in addressing the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness who are taking shelter in SEPTA stations, is right on par with [Mother Cabrini’s] vision,” said Cabrini President Donald B. Taylor, PhD, at the launch event Wednesday.
Cabrini is the only institution of higher education providing these kinds of social services in Montgomery County. Drexel University employs a similar program at the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby. For SEPTA, the student aid is making a difference.
“Having a number of partners working together, is really going to help us…compassionately provide services for those who truly need it—who have been using our stations and our vehicles as shelter,” said Leslie S. Richards, General Manager and CEO, SEPTA.
The program relies on student volunteers who serve for the duration of the semester, said Anjuli Gairola, PhD, Chair and Assistant Professor Department of Health and Exercise Sciences, who is leading Cabrini’s Health Navigators program.
Gairola expects this work to expand in scale and impact as more students volunteer to give back to the local community.
“This will enhance our engagement with vulnerable populations and our focus on putting people first,” she said. “We expect to increase awareness and further explore advocacy opportunities while allowing Cabrini University students to be forward-facing in the community.”