Daniel Pezzola recently began a year of service with FrancisCorps in Syracuse, New York. Prior to his work with FrancisCorps, Daniel Pezzola attended the Catholic University of America, where he studied politics and took part in the school’s various outreach activities.
Located in Washington, DC, the Catholic University of America (CUA) oversees a variety of service programs and events for students who want to get involved in the surrounding community. Each week, CUA students can take part in a number of ongoing outreach activities in the areas of education, hospitality, aging and disability, and hunger and homelessness.
CUA works with Beacon House, Girls in Action, Justice for Juniors, and other youth organizations to provide tutoring, mentoring, and after-school support services. Volunteers from the university also spend time at the local Ronald McDonald House and hold special outreach events in Washington’s Brookland neighborhood.
Other weekly volunteer activities at CUA benefit organizations that support senior citizens and individuals with disabilities. They include the Armed Forces Retirement Home, Bethlehem House, and Little Sisters of the Poor.
In the area of homelessness and food insecurity, the university oversees food runs and other outreach activities three times a week in downtown Washington. CUA students also volunteer for So Others Might Eat, a local interfaith organization that provides food, clothing, and services to those in need.
An active member of the Catholic church, Daniel Pezzola attended the Catholic University of America and belongs to the St. Patrick’s Church council. From 2015 through 2016, Daniel Pezzola served as a leader of homeless outreach activities.
When interacting with a person or family who is homeless, your first goal should be to help them understand that you acknowledge their worth as people. This may seem like a bare-minimum expectation, but the sad truth is that people on the street often do not feel valued. People walk by them, perhaps handing them a bit of money, but rarely make eye contact.
You can help to counteract this pattern by looking each homeless person in the eye and letting your compassion shine through. A simple smile can be enough to show that you see and respect the person, but it is even better if you can start a brief conversation.
Some people fear that asking “How are you doing?” will garner an aggressive response, but this is rarely the case. You may even get lucky and have the chance to hear someone’s story. If you ever feel unsafe, however, you have the right to excuse yourself.
You may choose to give a little bit of money at the end of a conversation, but you need not feel obligated. Many people feel more comfortable offering to buy the person a meal, while others keep bags of simple necessities to hand out to people on the streets. These bags can contain things like toothpaste and socks, which make life slightly less uncomfortable and can communicate genuine caring.
In early 2017, Daniel Pezzola graduated with a bachelor of arts from The Catholic University of America. He then worked for Washingtonville Pharmacy before he started a year of service with FrancisCorps, a social services organization based in Syracuse, New York. In his free time, Daniel Pezzola follows professional baseball as an avid supporter of the New York Mets.
In an effort to give back to the community that supports the team, the New York Mets organization oversees a variety of outreach programs. Each year, the Mets host an annual coat drive and holiday events benefiting those in need.
The team also hosts a yearly Summer Food Drive to collect nonperishable food items for local hunger-relief organizations. In 2017, Mets fans donated more than six tons of food during the event.
The Mets other community service programs include Mets Bike Build, which provides bicycles to children in underserved New York communities. Over the past four years, the Mets have partnered with Bloomberg L.P. to build and distribute more than 3,000 bikes. To learn more about the New York Mets suite of community programs, visit newyork.mets.mlb.com.
A graduate of Catholic University of America, Daniel Pezzola worked in maintenance at Holiday Inn Express & Suites, in sales for Macy’s and Columbia Sportswear, and in management training at Vineyard Vines. Daniel Pezzola has also volunteered for several non-profit organizations and recently received admission into the FrancisCorps.
An organization dedicated to service according to the spirit of the Gospel, the FrancisCorps brings volunteers together to live in community according to the example of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi. Volunteers have the opportunity to develop close friendships while serving in the local community.
Many recent college graduates choose to give a year in service with the FrancisCorps to help them discern what direction to go with their lives. The supportive community and time spent giving of themselves helps them to forge greater confidence.
Volunteers with the FrancisCorps live in community and eat their meals together. A typical day involves walking or taking the bus to work after breakfast and then returning to the house in the late afternoon. It might include a little free time before dinner and community prayer time. Then volunteers have the rest of the evening for whatever they need to do.