MMC Trustee Sr. Susan Gardella ’79 Runs Summer Camp to Assist Immigrant Families in Need

  • Sr. Susan Gardella ’79
Sr. Gardella, a member of Marymount Manhattan College’s Board of Trustees and the Executive Director of the Re­li­gious of the Sa­cred Heart of Mary’s (RSHM) Life Center, has opened an in-person summer day camp to help lower-income immigrant families as parents return to work. Her work has been profiled in a recent Hudson Independent feature on community heroes.

Sr. Gardella is the heart of the Life Center’s dedication to its community, and as a part of the Re­li­gious of the Sa­cred Heart of Mary, she represents a re­li­gious congregation of women whose original order founded Marymount Manhattan.

Summer camps in the Sleepy Hollow region have either been canceled or migrated to remote environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Sr. Gardella and the RSHM Life Center found that immigrant families relied on these camps to watch their children during the workday. As many of the families are undocumented and have not received government support, they had no choice but to return to work, but also had no one to watch their children.

The summer camp, housed in an education-based com­mu­nity cen­ter lo­cated in Sleepy Hol­low, not only cares for children as their parents reenter the workforce but additionally provides Eng­lish lan­guage lessons to prepare the children for school.

Although it was a difficult task, Sr. Gardella and the RSHM Life Center was there to help. In order to follow state guide­lines for in-per­son camps, the Center adapted by focusing on activities that allow for social distancing, such as giant jenga. Now in its third week of operation, the camp remains an important part of the Sleepy Hollow community.

Read the original Hudson Independent article here