George Caldwell ‘24
Since 2012, Working for Worcester has been cooperating with local college students to build playgrounds all around the city. The organization was founded by two Holy Cross students, Jeff Reppuci and Derek Kump. Since then, the organization has grown into a massive charitable organization which engages students from several colleges in the Worcester area. On their website, W4W breaks down the results of their 2022 Build Day: 20 sites, 2 playgrounds, 1 Gaga pit, 10,000 cubic yards of mulch, 1,200 volunteers, and $150,000 reinvested in the Worcester community.
Today, student volunteers at Holy Cross are hard at work planning for the 2023 build day. I spoke to two of them, Aidan Busconi and Jake Milan. Aidan told me about his involvement with the organization, saying, “I started as a volunteer my freshman year on the annual build day in the spring. From there I was very interested in getting more involved and ending up applying for managing team sophomore year and from there I was able to grow into the Chief Financial Officer position. One of the biggest reasons for joining was to make an impact in the Worcester community, a community that I was going to be living in for the next 4 years.” Aidan has an essential role within W4W, managing relationships with corporate and individual donors all while studying at Holy Cross.
Jake Milan has also taken on increased responsibilities with W4W throughout college. He started out as a site manager at the Nativity School, overseeing 25 volunteers. Now, he tells me he is “on the management team as the co-director of fundraising, where [he reaches] out to local businesses and corporations to raise funds for future build days.” Working For Worcester also collaborates with Holy Cross student athletes on their Instagram, who spread awareness about the charity. The Working for Worcester events are an inspirational showing of love for this city. In April, over 1,000 volunteers met in the Worcester Common, where Holy Cross’ President Rougeau, Congressman James McGovern, and Worcester Mayor Joe Petty thanked them for their hard work and generosity.
From the start, you could see the friendly cooperation among volunteers, as those with cars drove other volunteers to their work sites. Painting picnic tables and constructing playgrounds was tough work, especially as a freak hail storm began in the middle of the day. Nevertheless, the volunteers kept good spirits and enjoyed their pizza lunch break. The W4W team is looking forward to this year’s build day and many more to come. As Jake Milan told me, “Working for Worcester is looking to further its commitment to the city of Worcester by creating more safe places for children to enjoy their time, and hopefully with increased recognition and funding, we will be able to do bigger projects that will have an even bigger impact on this city that we all love.”