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Tennis Club
MIS Club
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Community: Prison Christian Growth Group 

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My grandfather, Joseph Marrazzo, now deceased, started the Prison Christian Growth Group (PCGG) in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1987. He was statewide coordinator for the organization and later replaced by Eileen Bohensky. The group was quickly registered as a non-profit organization. Now for the most part disbanded due to the aftermath of the COVID epidemic, which locked PCGG out of nearly all prisons, the group has shrunk in volunteer numbers. There were seven or eight volunteers to start, and this number later grew to over 420. It is, or was, originally affiliated with St. Catherine Laboure Catholic Parish in Harrisburg and a mens diocesan conference where the group was born. PCGG was endorsed by bishops Kevin Rhoades, Joseph Mcfadden, and Ronald Gainer of the Roman Catholic Harrisburg Diocese.

The first two prisons the group began visiting were Dauphin and Cumberland County prisons. In later years, a total of 17 prisons in the state of Pennsylvania were visited by PCGG. These were all state prisons for the most part with a couple local ones. Harrisburg area had about 40 volunteers alone. Frackville, Camp Hill, and Dallas, PA were other zones with many volunteers. Camp Hill prison had an interesting story behind it as there was a riot there, which put the prison on lock down for a duration and kept PCGG from visiting. In addition to prisons, the group also made appearances at halfway houses such as Keystone Halfway House of Harrisburg where inmates under work release participated in the gatherings. This is the location where I volunteered for about a year following the PCGG format for group gatherings of inmates.

The format for these gatherings included a few main themes. These include isolation, love, community, forgiveness, and other themes. With isolation, the group tried to convey that many people in our world feel distanced from each other. With love, the groups purpose in the gatherings is to examine our weaknesses. With community, the group tries to develop a strong sense of community by teaching we cannot do our part in the world alone. The basis for forgiveness is that Jesus died so that our sins may be forgiven as He expects us to forgive others as we are forgiven by the Father. Other themes include reality of discipleship, discernment, leadership, healing, humility, holiness, peripheral vision, perseverance, resolving conflict and many more. In essence, these themes are the PCGG mission statement. The quote from scripture most valued by the group is, "...Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ... For when I was in came to visit me." (Matt. 25:34-36).

I added the Johnny Cash video below the picture of Jesus because, like PCGG, his zeal for the forgiveness of prisoners blows me away. He performed prison concerts in California at Folsom and San Quentin. He wore black in honor of the prisoner who paid for his crime but is in prison because he is a victim of the times. He once said, "Inside the walls of a prison my body may be, but my Lord has set my soul free." Cash said he got an explosion of noise and reaction from every song he performed.

Community: Shippensburg Co-Ed Tennis Club 

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Pictured left to right in the boys row in the back is Drew, Ryan, Allen (myself), Adam, and Jesse. Pictured left to right in the girls row is Alicia, Lauren, and Laura. Adam was coach and Bryant Sigfried, not pictured was club president.

Some of the schools we traveled to for matches included HACC, Villanova, Bucknell, Lehigh University, and Unversity of Maryland. Our team exercised good comradery by spending a lot of time together practicing as well as socializing. Parties, bowling, and restarant gatherings were frequent get togethers.

I learned a few neat tricks from my tennis experience at Shippensburg. First, use top-spin. Second, when serving, hold the ball an arms length out in front of you for the toss. Third, follow the ball with your arm when it is lobbed over you to set yourself up for a overhead slam. Finally, move your feet when you play.

Community: Shippensburg MIS Club 

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I participated in the MIS club all five years I was in college. I attended most of the meetings and helped out with duties like representing the club at an open house for prospective students. I was nominated for leadership within the club as well. Other responsibities included testing windows Vista for the club and petitioning my Global Data Consultants LLC internship boss to speak at a club meeting. I learned a lot from employers like Tyco Electronics that visited the club and taught me important lessons like always wearing a suit to an interview. The club was not just work either. We did fun stuff too like watch the movie Office Space in the business college building presentation room.

Community: Shippensburg Catholic Campus Ministry 

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The Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM) was my favorite club at Shippensburg. The duty I am most proud of to help out the club was running the club website. I used Ektron Content Management System (CMS) to update news, add photos, update the calendar, update leadership positions, and write descriptions of events. Catholic Campus Minister Roxanne Dennis approved the role as well as did pastor Fr. Dave Hilliard (now deceased). Aside from running the website, I participated in washing dishes after our weekly Wednesday evening dinners. We also went to the home of Roxanne and served food to residents of South Mountain Restoration Center. This was a facility I visited too and met with residents to talk to them and give them the smiles they needed from youthful college students. I attended daily and Sunday Mass as part of my duty to be a good member of the club as well. The name of the church at Shippensburg is Our Lady of the Visitation Parish located right alongside the front of the campus at old main. Other responsibilities I assumed included serving the blood at campus Mass to Shippensburg students and reading the assigned scripture readings for that days Mass. We took retreats to various communities to get rid of the stress of school and meet other sisters and priests. Although not required by the the club, I made a pilgrammage to Medjugorje during summer break and brought back a Rosary for Roxanne which turned to gold.