Melissa Riggio students join with CSI students and community members on the CSI track for the 2015 Relay for Life.

The Relay for Life at the College of Staten Island (CSI)  brings together students, faculty, and staff from different areas of the College to unite and work together toward a common goal: winning the fight against cancer.  Relay for Life this year raised more than $12,000 from 275 participants, raising the six year fundraising total to $100,000.

Students with the Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program, a fully inclusive college-based program designed to prepare people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for adult life, raised $2,731 this year, accounting for 31% of CSI’s total donations. The students exceeded their 2015 goal of $2,000 and nearly doubled their 2014 contribution of $1,400.

“Our students are always looking for different ways to give back to the Staten Island community through participating in various charitable causes and events,” Melissa Riggio Program Director Matthew Weiler proudly explained.

The top two individual fundraisers from the 2015 Relay for Life at the College of Staten Island are Jennifer Matoske ($2,000) and Veera D’Silva ($1,100). Photo courtesy of Robert King Kee.

The top three fundraising teams are:
1. The Nursing Team (CSI)
2. AHRC Community for Causes (Melissa Riggio Program)
3. Poppa Smurf’s Minions (Emerging Leaders Program)

The Melissa Riggio Program is a part of the portfolio of Continuing Education and Professional Development. Executive Director, Christopher Cruz Cullari, explains how he continues to be impressed with the students. “Melissa Riggio students are contributing so much to the College. Through the program, the entire CSI community has an opportunity to learn what a fully inclusive environment can look like. It is a symbol of our institutional value of diversity in action.” Melissa Riggio students participate in a number of College-wide and community charitable events and have raised money or volunteered for animal shelters, Project Hospitality, Meals on Wheels, NY Cares, and domestic violence awareness.

The AHRC New York City’s Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program at the College of Staten Island was created in 2008. Through higher education coursework, and out of the classroom experiences such as career exploration and preparation, self-awareness and personal improvement, community involvement, and socialization, students participate in a comprehensive learning opportunity that fosters their full engagement with society. It is a three-year program that provides individualized academic, vocational, community and social experiences for young adults in a highly supportive, yet challenging, environment.

The annual Relay for Life is organized by the Office of Student Life, which is part of the Division for Student Affairs. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.