Doin’ Dunmore: H.S. Seniors Volunteer to Help Children’s Advocacy Center

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Dunmore High School officers for the Class of 2020 included, from left: Katie Hilson, Mia Chiaro, Charles Valvano, Bell Pendon and Madilyn Cianci. Not pictured is Nick Stanco.

By Steve Svetovich

A group of Dunmore High School seniors received recognition for their volunteer service work in holding a fundraiser last December to help the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeast PA. 

Mary Ann LaPorta is executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Northeast PA, 1710 Mulberry St., Scranton. 

The Dunmore senior class officers who held the fundraiser during a basketball tournament in December were Nick Stanco, Mia Chiaro, Madilyn Cianci, Charles Valvano, Katie Hilson and Bell Pendon.

The Dunmore High School senior class officers’ fundraiser last December to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA was called “Silent Night 2019.” 

Students were asked to bring teddy bears to the basketball game for the children of the Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA. The event collected 450 teddy bears and $350 in donations, said Rosemary Bohenek, fundraising and event coordinator for the Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA named the six Dunmore graduates, all who were senior class officers, as Youth Ambassadors of the Year for Cocktails by Moonlight. The event to honor the six Dunmore seniors was supposed to be held this past April 5 at Fiorelli’s, Peckville, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Bohenek.

“Due to COVID, the event did not happen,” said Bohenek. “We have been unable to honor them and Dunmore High School. And they deserve to be honored for their volunteer work. 

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Dunmore High School senior class officers are shown making a donation to the Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA. Shown from left are: Nick Stanco, Mia Chiaro, Mary Ann LaPorta representing Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA; Madilyn Cianci and Charles Valvano. Not shown are Katie Hilson and Bell Pendon.

“However, we nominated these Dunmore students as Youth Ambassadors for 2020 for their service work in 2019.

“The Dunmore community responded so well at the basketball game when the event was held. The kids were so great to deal with. They were so enthusiastic. The teddy bears were thrown onto the basketball court for the children. And $350 in donations were collected at the game. The Dunmore community really took part in this to help the Children’s Advocacy Center.”

The Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA, a non profit child abuse intervention center, began in 1998 through the work of Judge Michael Barrasse who decided children needed a different avenue to tell their stories of abuse and neglect. Previously, abused children had to go through multiple professionals and the court system and face their abuser after initiating allegations of abuse, said Bohenek.

Through the Children’s Advocacy Center, a child can now tell his or her story of abuse to one initial contact, said Bohenek. It then goes through a National Data Base and Children and Youth Services and then to the Children’s Advocacy Center, added Bohenek.

“The child’s story is admissible in a court of law and the child never has to face the perpetrator.

“It makes it much easier and less threatening for a child to report abuse. It goes right through us and just one initial contact.” 

Bohenek said the six Dunmore seniors, Dunmore High School and Dunmore community should be commended for their efforts in helping the children of the Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA.

“They really did a fantastic job. They were great.”


Mia Chiaro Named Scholar-Athlete of the Year by LIAA

Mia Chiaro2By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore High School graduating senior Mia Chiaro is the recipient of the Lackawanna Interscholastic Athletic Association (LIAA) female scholar-athlete of the year award.

“I was really excited when I heard about this,” Mia said. “It was a big moment for me and everyone else because of all the disappointments we had in sports this year due to COVID-19. It was nice to be recognized for something after going through all of that.”

Daughter of Alyssa and Nick Chiaro, Dunmore, the scholar-athlete was a key participant at Dunmore for soccer, swimming and track and field. She was also a football cheerleader. She had a 3.8 grade point average, including a 99 average in her final two quarters.

Mia was first-team all-star for track and field in her sophomore and junior years. She was a first-team all-star for soccer once and second-team twice. 

She ran the 100 meter and 300 meter hurdles and participated in the 4 by 1 and 4 by 4 for the Dunmore track and field team.

She credits her swimming coach John Andreoli for being a strong mentor. “He really cares about us,” Mia said. “He inspired us to be better. He had a talk with us that really gave us confidence and got us motivated. We became highly competitive and we kept improving to become an excellent swimming team. We had a great team bond. I will never forget the lessons learned and the spirit of our team.”

Mia, well spoken and articulate, said she will attend the University of Pittsburgh and study political science in the fall. She wants to attend law school in the future.

“I want to become a lawyer and possibly become a politician in the future,” she said. “I hope to play some club soccer at Pitt.” 

Mia enjoys listening to music and is a big fan of Kanye West. 

Mia Chiaro1As a three-sport athlete and cheerleader, she proved to be highly versatile. “I like to be involved and active,” she said. “So that is a no brainer for me. I like being a part of something special. And as most know, being a part of any sport at Dunmore usually results in something special. The coaches here teach you so much about sports and life. And the teammates you have result in lifetime friendships. You develop a great bond with your teammates.”

Mia said she gets her competitive spirit from her parents.

“My parents always tell me nothing gets handed to you. You need to work hard to develop a competitive work ethic.”

The aspiring law student and politician lit up when speaking of her experience at Dunmore High School. “You get a lot of opportunities to express yourself and get involved at Dunmore,” she said. “You develop lifelong friendships and you are a part of something special. All of the sports you participate in at Dunmore are special. 

“Our coaches and teachers at Dunmore teach us to be competitive on and off the field and in life. And this all translates to life as you transition beyond high school. It is such a great experience at Dunmore.”