Last week, I boarded a plane for the first time in over a year and half. Before the arrival of the pandemic, flying had become habitual, almost rote. Now, I found myself freshly aware of the many steps it takes to get me from my home into the sky - something familiar becoming new again.
I was headed west to California, to reunite with the San Francisco Dinner Committee for the first time since COVID-19 had restricted us to our respective coasts. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of meeting with the SF Committee, a bit of history - they have successfully produced the annual Ball of the Year in San Francisco for more than fifty years, raising hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars for the young people we serve. Many Committee members are second or even third-generation supporters of A Chance In Life's work for youth in Italy and around the world. They generously volunteer their time each year to maintain the memory and legacy of our founder, Monsignor Carroll-Abbing, and raise crucial support for our programs.
ACIL Board Member and SF Committee Chair Larry Nibbi opened the Committee gathering (photo above) with warm words of welcome and the shared sentiment that it was a relief to see everyone doing well after the past year of challenges. Larry and I shared all of the exciting news of The Village ahead of its formal opening: the 30 young people in our pilot internship program, the beautiful building that will soon welcome youth in Staten Island, and the start of a new chapter of ACIL's history as we prepare to open our first program in the United States. It was a joy to be surrounded by their excitement for the project and hear their commitment to the young people we serve.
Like many things in our pandemic-changed world, A Chance In Life is working to make familiar things new again. I am so excited to be bringing our 76-year-old model of youth development to American youth after our many decades abroad. And I am extraordinarily grateful to have the support and partnership of the San Francisco Committee, who have stood by our young people through more than seven decades of crises and change.
You can join the San Francisco Committee, our many individual and corporate partners in NYC, and the ACIL community around the world in supporting our first US-based program by donating or learning more about the project today.
Yours in gratitude,
President & Executive Director