Manhattan College’s David Caiafa Named a 2016 Newman Civic Fellow

Freshman honored as one of 218 community-engaged students to receive prestigious award.

David Caiafa ’19 is one of 218 students from colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Newman Civic Fellow for his youth volunteer work done in the Bronx. The award honors inspiring student leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions to challenges faced by their communities.

Caiafa’s recognition derives from his dedication to the Renaissance Youth Center (RYC). Combining his experience as a high school athlete and youth peer leader, Caiafa found himself in the position of assistant coach for the RYC basketball program. The young athletes inspired Caiafa to commit maximum effort to enhancing their experience in the basketball program.

Caiafa was instrumental in creating a mindfulness workshop for the preteen boys. He taught them to use mindful breathing and visualization exercises to calm their minds and bodies and to focus, reducing reactivity and increasing cooperation and positivity. “My goal is for the kids at RYC to realize that this could be a solution to their stressors,” Caiafa says, “Even if I just change one life, I know I did something to help change the world.”

“With enthusiastic support of the RYC staff, David has taken the initiative to implement this program to great success,” says Brennan O’Donnell, president of Manhattan College. “David has shown uncommon commitment to the well-being of others, along with compassion, initiative and perseverance.”

Campus Compact is grateful to the KPMG Foundation and Newman’s Own Foundation for their support of the 2016 Newman Civic Fellows Award.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of nearly 1,100 college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. For more information about the organization and the award, visit

By Pete McHugh