Dartmouth Vets and Athletes Mentor Orion House Teenagers

On May 17, 2013 by Elizabeth Molina-Markham
Ryan McManus ’15 (second from left), Ed von Kuhn ’14 (third from left), Orion House residential coordinator Justin Fromer (center, blue shirt), Rob Lauzen ’15, fourth from right, and William Guinee ’15 (right) visit with Orion House residents.

Ryan McManus ’15 (second from left), Ed von Kuhn ’14 (third from left), Orion House residential coordinator Justin Fromer (center, blue shirt), Rob Lauzen ’15, fourth from right, and William Guinee ’15 (right) visit with Orion House residents.

Ron Bucca and Desmond Webster, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies students, cited in Dartmouth Now for work with Orion House.

When Rob Lauzen ’15 volunteered to visit the Orion House, a residential treatment facility serving males ages 11 to 19, he had no idea how he could connect with the residents. But that changed quickly.

“After our first visit, it wasn’t like we were doing community service,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun. We are just going, hanging out with some great kids, and trying to do a little bit of good.”

It seems to be working.

Nearly every week since October, a group of Dartmouth football players and graduate student military veterans have made the 40-minute drive south to Orion House in Newport, N.H. Orion House takes in underprivileged adolescent males who suffer from substance abuse, have family problems, and/or are dealing with emotional and behavioral issues.

It all began when Ron Bucca, a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) student, heard about the not-for-profit from a friend. Shortly thereafter, Bucca, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant, and other members of the Dartmouth Graduate Veterans Association traveled to the residential facility.

But after a few trips, Bucca thought Orion House residents might connect better with Dartmouth student-athletes: There would be less of an age gap between the residents, and the boys might have more in common with athletes, since nearly all the Orion House residents play sports. So Bucca approached classmate and football player Edward von Kuhn ’14 about volunteering at Orion House. Once football season ended, Von Kuhn and a crew of teammates joined the veterans on a trip to Orion House.

“When the football guys started coming,” Bucca says, “that’s when this really took off.”

For the full article go to the Dartmouth Now.

Photo by Eli Burakian

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