Meet The 2018-2019 FVMs

Durham

Meet Kiana Cunningham

Kiana Cunningham is one of our pioneers who is serving in Durham, NC–the first year FVM has in this site.  Kiana, who is from Williamsburg, VA, has spent the last few years working at various museums and historical sites.  Kiana received her English degree from Regent University. Kiana’s goals for her service year are “to become vulnerable with the poor; to grow in my relationship with Jesus; [and to] continue to answer the lifelong question, ‘What does it mean to be a Christian?’”

Meet Chukwuma Obadike

Chukwuma Obadike is one of our first Franciscan Volunteer Ministers in our Durham, NC community. Chukwuma is originally from Nigeria and moved to New Jersey in late 2017. Before moving to the United States, Chukwuma was studying at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. In his free time, Chukwuma likes reading, singing, and playing soccer. Chukwuma is excited about living in community with his fellow FVMs because “my communal prayer life will be increased, the chance to learn more about the culture of the country and to try different foods prepared by my community members.”

Meet Greg Perenich

Greg Perenich is spending the year as a Franciscan Volunteer Minister in our Durham, NC site. Greg, who is originally from Tarpan Springs, FL, recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in Neuroscience. In his free time, Greg enjoys playing tennis, writing, and playing the piano. Greg shares how he first came to fall in love with service, “During my eight-week service immersion trip to Lima, Peru, while giving myself to the many bright-eyed and beautiful kids with physical and mental disabilities, I absolutely fell in love with serving others everything I have. After coming home exhausted and collapsing in the chapel to recharge most days, I now feel I [more deeply] understand St. Mother Teresa’s words (paraphrasing): ‘I have discovered the paradox, that when you love until it hurts, there is not more hurt, only love.’”

Meet Elizabeth Russell

Elizabeth Russell is serving this year as a Franciscan Volunteer Minister in our program’s newest site in Durham, NC. Elizabeth, who is originally from the Scranton, PA area, graduated from Rosemont College with degrees in Sociology and Theology. Elizabeth led multiple retreats and service trips during her time as a student at Rosemont. Elizabeth enjoys reading, listening to music, and journaling. Elizabeth is also a registered yoga instructor. Elizabeth’s goals for this service year are to “stay present and remain open to all the new people and experiences I will encounter.”

Philadelphia

Meet Christian Alexandrou

Christian Alexandrou is spending this year as a Philadelphia Franciscan Volunteer Minister.  Originally from Worcester, MA, Christian graduated from Furman University with a degree in Politics and International Affairs.  Christian enjoys reading, hiking, and cooking. Christian is excited about living in intentional community, especially for “the diversity of opinion.  I seek deep, thoughtful, and reflective conversations and have high hopes to spend many late nights discussing things that matter.”

Meet Christina Francisco

Christina Francisco is serving as a Franciscan Volunteer Minister at the St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia. Christina, who is from Greenville, SC, first heard about Franciscan Volunteer Ministry through Pat Tuttle, OFM. Christina, who has a Criminal Justice degree from Greenville Technical College, enjoys singing, reading, hiking, and playing soccer in her free time. Christina is looking forward to spending her service year in Philadelphia, noting, “my ministry involves feeding the hungry, so I hope to serve everyone I come across with all humility and love.”

Meet Griffin Fraser

Griffin Fraser is serving as a Philadelphia Franciscan Volunteer Minister during the 2018-2019 volunteer year. Griffin graduated from Saint Anselm College with a degree in Sociology. Griffin, who is from Candia, NH, enjoys watching sports and movies, as well as going on runs. Griffin developed a passion for service through a visit to the St. Francis Inn during his high school years. “After my first visit to the Inn, I craved more, and thus went on many more service trips and led some as well, “ says Griffin. “I always wanted to meet as many people as I could and hear all the stories possible.”

Meet Morgan Friedman

Morgan Friedman has returned for a second year as a Franciscan Volunteer Minister and continues to serve at the St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia. Morgan graduated from Siena College with a degree in History. After her time with Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, Morgan hopes to go to graduate school for Social Work. Over her time in Philadelphia, Morgan has gained a unique perspective into the opioid epidemic, stating that she is passionate about, “advocating for those impacted…I have learned a lot about this issue through my experience in Philly and have developed relationships with people struggling with addiction as well as family and friends of those addicted who also struggle. They have all taught me so much, and they inspire my passion to advocate for them.”

Meet Roman Kelly

Roman Kelly is spending the year as a Philadelphia Franciscan Volunteer Minister and serving at St. Francis Inn. Roman, who is from Greenville, SC, earned a certificate in Welding from Greenville Technical College. Roman first came to the St. Francis Inn with Pat Tuttle, OFM, for the annual block party. Roman is a big fan of Harry Potter and also enjoys longboarding. Roman’s favorite quote is, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light.”

Meet Mary Catherine Mazzella

Mary Catherine Mazzella is spending the 2018-2019 volunteer year serving in Philadelphia at the St. Francis Inn. Mary Catherine, who is originally from Plattsburgh, NY, graduated in the spring of 2017 from SUNY Oswego with a degree in Human Development. Mary Catherine spent the last year working as an Athletic Development Intern at Southern Utah University. Mary Catherine learned about FVM from her cousin, Katie Cilano (Horan), who was also an FVM. Mary Catherine is looking forward to live in intentional community, and says she is “most excited about sharing meals together and getting to know one another. I’m truly surrounded by amazing people, and I’m looking forward to a great year with them!”

Silver Spring

Meet Jesse Koch

Jesse Koch is serving as a Franciscan Volunteer Minister in Silver Spring, MD during the 2018-2019 year. Jesse hails from Yonkers, NY. He graduated from Iona College with a degree in Psychology. Jesse has been surrounded by service since attending a Christian Brother high school and has gone on service trips to Ireland and Mississippi. Jesse is looking forward to his volunteer year, stating, “I’ve only been on short term immersion trips, so it’s kind of hard to see the lasting impact of the work I’ve done. Now that I’m here for a full year, I can see more results of the ministry I’ll be doing.”

Meet Ana Mahomar

Ana Mahomar is serving as a Franciscan Volunteer Minister through ministries sponsored by St. Camillus in Silver Spring, MD. Ana came to FVM all the way from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Ana graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX with a degree in Psychology. Ana is looking forward to serving in the parish school, St. Francis International School. In her free time, Ana likes to read, journal, and play the guitar. As far as this volunteer year, Ana hopes to “become more attuned to God, myself, and others through community, prayer, and ministry. I also hope I can get a better idea of what I would like to do in the future and where God calls me to be.”

Meet Chynnah McFadden

Chynnah McFadden is spending her year as a Franciscan Volunteer Minister in the Silver Spring, MD community. Chynnah first heard about the program through FVM alumna Katelyn Bagtaz. Chynnah graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Psychology. Since her college graduation, Chynnah has lived in various communities, serving and advocating for the underprivileged. Chynnah says she developed her passion for service by “volunteering in ministry to the poor in Tampa, FL as part of the Tampa Underground Network. Prior to that, I spent time praying for and assisting the needy whenever I had resources and time to do so.”

Meet Scott Robinson

Scott Robinson is spending this year as a Franciscan Volunteer Minister serving in Silver Spring, MD and St. Camillus Church. Scott has most recently lived in Charlotte, NC, but has also lived in France and California. Scott graduated from Bucknell University with degrees in International Relations and French. In his free time, Scott likes to cook and paint. When looking at the year ahead of him, Scott is “hopeful that God will guide me to find a balance in life so that I don’t feel overwhelmed; I am excited to develop my Catholic faith, and through prayer and service, create new friendships.”

See Former FVMs