Students at Somerville, NJ, High School who sign up for either the Amnesty Club or the Model UN Club are immediately told of a special requirement – they must volunteer at Matheny.
That’s because Patrick Frain, the teacher who runs both clubs, has been teaching at the Matheny School summer program for four years, and he feels it’s important for his students to meet some of the Matheny students and learn about the work being done here.
According to Gail Cunningham, Matheny’s coordinator of volunteer activities, the student volunteers from Somerville High “are terrific. That’s because Pat has already told them a little about our residents, so they’re comfortable and ready to relax and have fun.”
Frain, a special education history teacher, enjoys working at Matheny for a simple reason – “the kids.” He looks forward each day to “seeing the smiles on their faces. And there’s a sense of camaraderie here, a great rapport between the teachers and the therapists and between the teachers and the support staff.”
Sean Murphy, Matheny School vice principal, says Frain is “more than just a summer program teacher. He is part of the Matheny community. Patrick is very quiet and modest about himself, but ask him about the kids, and he lights up.”