Paying It Forward

Blogosphere,

I have some exciting news! I am happy to announce that I am raising money for an award at Northeastern University, my alma mater, called the Ralph and Theresa Anselmo Resilience Award, named after my parents. The award – which may end up being two awards when all is said and done – will be given to a sophomore, middler or junior-year student registered with Northeastern’s Disability Resource Center (DRC).

You can find a link to the GoFundMe page here. Any contribution is greatly appreciated! Even if you are unable to donate, sharing the link with your family and friends would mean the world to me.

At this point, you probably have a few questions:

Q1: Forget the award, what the heck is a “middler”? 

A: A middler is a middle-year student at Northeastern. The school is technically a five-year school, since students partake in three six-month internships, or co-ops. The middler year is year three.

Q2: I see that you’ve already met your goal of $2,000. Is it too late for me to contribute?

A2: It’s not too late! Although I have met my goal, anything above and beyond $2,000 will go towards future years.

Q3: Why did you decide to create an award and why did you name it after your parents?

A3: Glad you asked! This has been a goal of mine for a long time. I have been so appreciative of the sacrifices my parents have made in helping me achieve my goals that I wanted to find a way to pay it forward. I believe that anyone can achieve anything they set their mind to, however, we often need help along the way.

One of my biggest goals I achieved was going to business school to get my MBA. In order to make it through school I needed to rely on all sorts of people, but most of all I needed my parents, who helped me with cooking, laundry and providing me the support I needed physically and emotionally to make it through a grueling program. They even helped me move to New York City for my internship at Pfizer, which, considering how much my dad hates driving in New York, was quite the sacrifice!

My parents stepped up to the plate when I needed them most, and my BC diploma is just as much theirs as it is mine.

Q4: Who is eligible?

A: Any sophomore, middler or junior year student at Northeastern who is registered with the Disability Resource Center. I chose these class years because this is when students are usually shifting back and forth between class and co-op, and it can be a stressful time. My hope is that the award will help provide a little peace of mind. Recipients are free to use the award any way they see fit, as long as it relates to school somehow.

Although I was not registered with the DRC during my time at Northeastern since I was asymptomatic at the time, I know it is a terrific resource for students and I certainly would have used it if the timing of my disease was different. There are terrific, resilient students who are registered with the DRC and they are going to achieve great things in life. My hope is that this award can provide a helping hand in some way, no matter how small. I’ve learned that no help is insignificant.

Q5: Will you create a similar award at Boston College?

A5: Eventually!

Although this award is named after my parents, I do want to give a special shout-out to everyone else who has helped me on my journey. My sister Jen, my Northeastern friends, work friends, BC friends, BC staff and faculty, other people who I’m forgetting – everyone has contributed to my success in some way, big or small. This award is in the spirit of their help as well.

When I started the fundraiser, my original goal was $1,000. I figured it would take me a while to reach that amount, if at all. How wrong I was! I exceeded my goal that very day. I have been truly blown away by everyone’s support and I am so appreciative.

There are many ways you can make a difference in the world. If you’ve been sitting on an idea for a while – starting a nonprofit, volunteering, maybe even starting a scholarship yourself – I encourage you to go for it! It is a great way to fight back against the tide of negativity and create a positive ripple effect in the process.

I will update all of you when the recipients are announced. Stay tuned!

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