Tag Archives: St. Lucy’s

If I Had A Million Dollars…

cropped-100_1604.jpg#GivingTuesday. I have seen some really worthy organizations tagged on my Facebook feed today and it got me thinking, who would I support and donate to if I won the lottery? As anyone who knows me would guess, I already have a plan. Hey, you never know! In no particular order, here are some of the groups I would support. No doubt you have seen or heard me talk about them. In lieu of actually winning the lottery, I do support these organizations now I whatever way I can. If enough drops of water come together, they can form a really big wave!


We grew up on the Near West Side of Syracuse and my brother Joe spent his teenage years playing basketball across the street from our house, in Skiddy Park. He grew up to be a PE teacher. As an educator, he struggled for ways to help his city school students rise above circumstances and be successful. He got his inspiration from Joe Ehrmann’s book, Season of Life. Joe started an intramural basketball program with an educational component in the middle school he was teaching in, and it has now become a multidimensional program in several schools in the city school district. The guys participate in a variety of community service projects and have had some great guest speakers during their weekly chalk talks. There’s also a summer program with great academic successes. You can find them on Facebook:

Here is a link to his website: http://www.buildingmenprogram.org/


I mentioned IMFK a couple of blogs ago. John and his wife Leigh Ann started this ministry helping the homeless in Syracuse. They bring hot food, basic necessities, and fellowship to their friends on the streets. If you are looking for a creative holiday gift for someone, consider a pasta basket featuring their homemade Taste and See Pasta Sauce (available at most Wegmans stores), or a breakfast basket with their coffee and maple syrup.  These are all available at their storefront at 501 Hawley Avenue (check their link below for hours.) Or if you have clothing (especially for children and teens) or household items to help start a new home, they always take donations. You can find them on Facebook:

Here is their website: http://inmyfatherskitchen.org/


Several homeless people now have comfortable homes thanks to the organization Andrew Lunetta started a couple of years ago. He befriended some of these guys through the Brady Faith Center and the cycling program he started there, Pedal To Possibilities. He was discouraged that they didn’t have safe, affordable housing and he wanted to do something about it. Now there are five homes on the south side, near where I spent my elementary school years down the street from his mom Cathy. Our families have been linked for about 50 years now and I am so happy to be able to shout about his good heart and the drive to make his world a little better. I was at the ribbon cutting for the latest three homes earlier this month and hope to get a chance to help as six more are started on the west side of town. There are many wonderful people and organizations who have donated time, materials, and skills to make these homes. You can find A Tiny Home For Good on Facebook:

Here’s their website: http://www.atinyhomeforgood.org/


MIchael DeSalvo and Nick Orth have been supporting and ministering to people with AIDS for almost 25 years, in the tradition of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement. They open their home and their hearts to those who are ill and sometimes dying and almost always don’t have any other options for safe, loving care. Their house guests don’t pay anything to stay there, and their lives are richer because of the time with Michael and Nick.  There are several fundraising opportunities throughout the year, but they could always use more help. They have a delicious homemade dinner to help raise money on the last Wednesday of every month and it is a gathering of some of the most amazing and loving people you can imagine, and the food is as wonderful as you could imagine it to be. Here is a link to their Facebook page:


The list doesn’t end for me there. I would love to start scholarships for the Syracuse city school students to go to college. I would donate money to 100 Black Men of Syracuse, and to the Huntington Family Center, and to St. Lucy’s and all their ministires I would send money to #standingrock and to refugee settlement programs and to Planned Parenthood. I would love to start a foundation that would be able to support all sorts of causes I believe in. But for now, I will support those causes close to my heart and encourage my friends to do the same. Happy giving.

Disclaimer: My lack of tech savvy may be in evidence here with the Facebook links. Thank you for your patience as I continue to learn my craft.

My Mom Is Better Than Your Mom

OK, so this may not be categorically true. Only one person was polled: me. I am sure your moms have done great things too and are superheroes in their own way. My mom turns 75 today and instead of a gift, she asked that the people who love her write a note to her or create a work of art. This is a little of both. Happy Birthday Mom. I don’t think she will mind this existing in such a public forum.

My mom has had many roles over the years, but I want to focus on one, motherhood. She has been a mom for 55 years now and if you added up all the years for every child, it is over 350!

11203570_10206205266758210_7823587336853467529_oAnd just in case you were wondering if that’s where she got all her gray hair from, then what about the purple or the blue?? Where did she get that colorful streak? I think it is from her sense of adventure and whimsy. There are so many stories, and I want to share just a couple with you that helped shape me into the woman I am today.

My mom had 6 kids under the age of 6. After they pick their jaws up, people always ask me how she did it. I am not sure anyone knows.  When she had the twins in 1967, before ultrasounds were the norm, she fought with the doctor for much of her pregnancy because he was insistent that she was carrying one baby when she knew there were two babies were in there. Imagine the chaos when she brought those two home to add to the four of us (ages 5, 4, 2, and 1.) And what a gift when she brought home one more 5 years later to make our family complete. Even with her hands so full, there were many things she did to make each of us feel special.  One of those days for me was when I was almost 10. She stayed home while my dad took a bunch of us somewhere, maybe to the Great New York State Fair. When we arrived back at home base, she had made me my very own bedroom (I think she gave up her sewing room.)  It was very special to have a space of my own with so many in our family. Thanks Mom, for teaching me that no matter how busy or chaotic life is, there is a way to treat people like they are important.

Before I was even old enough to understand about social justice, we had other people living with my family.  This opening of her home and her heart continued for years, inviting all kinds of people who needed a place to live into our lives. At first, there were unwed mothers and people leaving prison with nowhere else to go. Then we made the move to the Near West Side so my parents could be a part of ministry at St. Lucy’s Church and that opportunity gave us more chances to help and support those who were not as lucky as we were to have a big loving family and a roof over our heads. The two family house was big enough for our family of 9 plus.  There was always a plus one there (here are the 7 of us with a plus one, I think his name was Tony.)  The cast of characters would change, but the thing that would not change was that is was always a cast of characters. We sometimes didn’t know where our next meal was coming from and we all wore hand me down and donated clothing, but we were richer beyond measure. Thanks Mom, for showing me there is always more than I need.


Mom still lives in the same house where most of us grew up.  While many have left the city and the near Westside over the years as the area deteriorated, Mom stayed in the home she has lived in for the past 40+ years and has helped to revitalize the neighborhood.  I do not have the space to tell you all the ways in which she has been involved in the rebirth of her community, but I can mention that she has stayed active and involved since her retirement.   This includes 17 years of service on the board of  Huntington Family Center (a local social service agency) and she was a founding member of the Westside Arts Council.   Most of her most recent work has been with the Near Westside Initiative in several different capacities, including peace circles and work with the Citizen’s Review Board, advocating for those who live in the neighborhood and giving voice to those who are otherwise marginalized. Thanks Mom for showing me that every person is valuable and has worth.

When I was a preteen Mom was very involved in our church, St. Lucy’s, by teaching  confirmation classes, sitting on parish council, and as we got older she led a spiritual teen group, filling her house with teens from the neighborhood giving them love and guidance and a safe haven. As I grew older, I sought out chances to work with people younger than myself, acting as role model and mentor. I have had countless students and employees that have told me how I had infludenced their lives. Thanks Mom for giving me the love of teaching and mentoring and opening my heart to those who need a helping hand.






Happy birthday to my friend, role model, advocate, and Mom, Carole Horan. Every day is a celebration with you!!