Ohio Dominican University Alumna Recognized for Service Project Leadership

Colleen Gomez


Columbus, OH (43219) – Ohio Dominican University (ODU) Alumna Colleen Gomez, ’85, was recognized before approximately 800 community leaders at the Columbus Council on World Affairs’ International Awards Ceremony on March 5. Gomez led a service-learning project at St. James the Less Catholic School in Columbus, where she teaches Mathematics to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, and Religion to seventh graders. 

The project, “Under Construction - El Salvador,” was one of six finalists for the International Education Project of the Year award.  

“It was nice to be validated for all of our hard work, but it was not necessary in order to realize how important service-learning and helping others is,” Gomez said, who graduated from ODU with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. “Each of our students knows they can and do make a difference. This experience has made me extremely proud.”  

During the project, students in grades K-8 participated in a number of activities to raise money and collect donations for the people of El Salvador. They coordinated the project with a missionary living at the St. Vincent de Paul Orphanage in San Salvador. 

Highlights of the project include: 

  • Raising enough money to build two houses; $1,200 was collected through a submarine sandwich fundraiser. 
  • Raising $500 to purchase books written in both English and Spanish. 
  • Writing a dozen children’s books for the children in the orphanage to enjoy. 
  • Holding a toy drive, resulting in hundreds of donated toys.  
  • Collecting $760 for the Community Shelter Board by hosting a fundraiser, “One Day to End Homelessness.” 
  • Filling 30 shoeboxes with donated art supplies, such as crayons, pencils and games. 
  • Collecting medical supplies and clothing. 

ODU students delivered the donations, which filled approximately 25 suitcases, during the University’s annual spring break service-immersion trip. During this year’s service program, ODU students assisted at the orphanage and helped build homes for families in need. 

Next year, Gomez’s service-learning project is titled, “Feed the Hungry.” Students will explore the local and global issue of hunger.                                                                                               

Ohio Dominican University is a four-year, private, comprehensive liberal arts and master’s institution, founded in 1911 in the Catholic Dominican tradition. The University has approximately 2,700 students and offers undergraduate degrees in 42 majors as well as seven graduate degree programs. Ohio Dominican uses a student-centered approach, with a commitment to quality teaching and learning.