Sofia Maietta ’19
Saturday, April 13 will mark the seventh annual Build Day for Working for Worcester. Founded in 2012 by Holy Cross students Jeff Reppucci ‘14 and Derek Kump ‘14, the organization describes its mission as mobilizing college students in the Worcester community to improve and build recreation infrastructure for children across the city. Over the years, the organization has accrued a myriad of sponsors including Polar Beverages, Wegmans Food Markets, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the Hanover Insurance Group. Working for Worcester has raised and invested more than $1,000,000 into the community, mobilized over 4,000 volunteers, and renovated over 100 schools and community spaces since its founding. The organization’s website describes that beyond building new recreation infrastructure, it “…has fundamentally changed the way that local citizens, government, and businesses connect with and view college student citizenship, catalyzing more opportunities for students to engage with previously unexplored neighborhoods and see Worcester as a home, rather than as a mere area code.”
This year, Working for Worcester’s managing team is led by Co-Executive Directors Tommy Nixon ‘19, Gabbi Lutz ‘19, and Lilly Pochintesta ‘19. The majority of projects for Build Day 2019 consist of revitalization and painting, with playground construction at some sites as well. This year’s Build Day will place volunteers at 24 sites across Worcester ranging from Girls, Inc., to Columbus Park, to Worcester Arts Magnet School, and more.
Lilly described one site she was particularly passionate about, explaining “At El Buen Samaritano Food Program our project is two-fold: First, we’re going to be revitalizing their downstairs food pantry with all new shelving, a new front desk and entrance area, and fresh paint. This food pantry serves 6,000 families annually. Upstairs, we are going to be building a homework and e-learning room where students and young adults in the area will have access to tablets, laptops, and printing to work on their homework, resumes, and so on. We are also really proud of this site because we’ll be partnering with StEP (Student Empowerment Program), which is a fellow student-run non-profit organization that specializes in education and technology.”
This year, Build Day will commence on April 13 on the Worcester Common. Registration will open at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast available for volunteers. At 9:30 a.m., speeches are scheduled to start as a part of the annual rally, and at 10:00 a.m. volunteers will arrive at their respective sites. Additionally, a pizza lunch will be delivered for the volunteers of each site between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m..
Summing up his experience with Working for Worcester, Tommy commented, “Being a part of the managing team is always a rewarding experience, one which teaches you a ton of life lessons that you wouldn’t learn inside a classroom. It gives you firsthand experience running a company, managing a team, and building corporate relationships. In addition to all of the life lessons, you gain a few lifelong friends in the process, all while making Worcester a better place for the kids. When it is all said and done, I’m going to wake up on the morning of April 14 with a bit of an empty feeling, because once I graduate it’ll be time to pass on Working for Worcester to the next generation of students.”