For Christina Pinder, MC ’05, participating in community service has always been a family affair. She and her younger siblings (including Nadia, a rising junior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center) learned early on about the value of helping others.
“My parents have always been huge advocates of giving back to the community,” she says. “We were always doing projects for school or our church.”
In April, Pinder, a board member of the Fordham Alumni Chapter of Washington, D.C., shared that spirit of service with members of her Fordham family. She led the D.C. group’s involvement with Fordham’s Chapters for Charity program. She and 15 other alumni were among the more than 8,000 volunteers who took part in Servathon 2013, an annual event sponsored by HandsOn Greater DC Cares, a nonprofit that mobilizes volunteers to build a stronger D.C. community. The Fordham group worked at Stuart Hobson Middle School organizing library books and cleaning the hallway and storage room.
While Pinder, a project manager with Greater DC Cares, managed a different site during the Servathon, she kept in contact with the Fordham group throughout the day. “I got nothing by positive [feedback]. There was excitement going into and leaving Servathon,” she says. “I thought that was such a wonderful day.”
“I think the spiritual fulfillment you get from painting a school, or cleaning a park, or helping restore a landmark makes you feel not only more connected to the community,” she said, “but also more connected to your innately good self.” Pinder has been volunteering with Greater DC Cares since 2008. The projects she works on vary—from mentoring and reading to children to playing cards with senior citizens—but they always have one thing in common.
At Marymount College of Fordham University, Pinder majored in communications and Spanish, and had two big plans in mind: study abroad in Spain and prepare for a career in broadcast journalism. She grew up learning Spanish in school and from her Panamanian grandmother, but she wanted the cultural immersion. She got it in the fall semester of her junior year, when she lived in Toledo, Spain, studying the city’s renowned architecture and honing her Spanish skills.
As often is the case during college, when students are still discovering and developing their interests, her career path shifted. She had her sights set on a career in broadcast journalism, but after an internship with the booking department at ABC’s Good Morning America, she lost interest in the long early morning hours and a future in journalism.
“It wasn’t for me, but it was still a really great experience and GMA holds a special place in my heart,” she says. “God bless morning news crews!”
She returned to her hometown of Washington, D.C., after college and turned to the nonprofit sector, working at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for five years in various administrative roles. Now she’s refocused her career on event planning. At Hill Country Barbecue Market, she’s coordinating events for the restaurant and maintaining its social media presence—and putting her Spanish fluency to use every day in her interactions with Spanish-speaking staff members. She’s also enrolled in the event management certificate program at George Washington University School of Business. “I love it,” she says. “It’s built for the working professional.”
When she returned to D.C., she also sought out a way to stay connected to Fordham and found it with the alumni chapter.
“Lots of alumni move down here from New York. The alumni may not have had the same experiences as you, but they went to the same school,” Pinder says. “It’s a nice way to keep connected.”
One of Fordham’s oldest and most active alumni chapters, the D.C. chapter hosts an array of activities for local Fordham alumni and their families, including trips to sporting events and museums, Third Thursday happy hour and networking nights, and a Summer Send-Off reception for incoming Fordham freshman students and their families.
The chapter’s biggest annual event is the Congressional Reception on Capitol Hill, hosted by the Offices of Alumni Relations and Government Relations. All proceeds go to the D.C. Scholarship Fund, which is currently funding scholarships for three Fordham students.
“It’s a great event to catch up with fellow Fordham Rams, meet new ones, and see the reach of support for Fordham. When [Father McShane] speaks, he lights a fire under you that makes you so proud to be affiliated with Fordham and want to give all you can to help see it flourish,” says Pinder.
“It’s been really cool to be involved.”
– Rachel Buttner