Today is my birthday! I feel so blessed and my heart is so full after spending this past weekend with family and loved ones. For Father’s Day, we celebrated with brunch at Hs Lordships, a waterfront Berkeley restaurant that’s closing after nearly 50 years in business. In attendance were 6 of my dad’s 8 living siblings. I’m all the way in the back in the below picture, holding Franco.
My immediate family
To celebrate my birthday today, I wanted to honor everyone out there who has supported me: extended family that raised me, teachers who educated me, bosses who took a chance on me, professionals who coached and healed me, and friends who loved me. I have made several donations today to my favorite charities in honor of all of you.
The Florence Project provides free legal and social services to adults and children in immigration custody in Arizona. In 2018, the Florence Project secured asylum for over 70 unaccompanied children who fled from violence or persecution in their home countries and sought refuge in the U.S.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic well being, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Charity Navigator has given the IRC it’s highest rating.
Finally, I encourage you to take one simple action today and make your Amazon purchases using Amazon Smile. Same user experience, same prices. The only difference is that a portion of your purchases will be donated to the charity of your choice. Mine is my high school alma mater.
I leave you with quotes from St. Joseph Notre Dame high school’s graduation.
Salutatorian Joseph Picchi will study Biomedical Engineering at UCLA in the fall.
“At SJND, we’ve learned more than just academics; we’ve also learned about how we can contribute to a warm and faith-filled community, how we can create a loving family amongst those we interact with on a daily basis, and how we can make a difference in the lives of all those we meet. We’ve learned to serve others in new ways, and we can never forget the importance of sharing our gifts beyond the SJND community…And even though we’ll no longer sit together in the same classes or on the same bleachers, the memories we’ve made here will never perish. Though our time as classmates has come to end, we will always remember each other in our hearts and minds as friends, companions, and perhaps most importantly, as brothers and sisters of an inseparable family. The friends we’ve made will always be there for us, and the family we’ve formed will never fail to love us.”
Valedictorian Ozi Amuzie will pursue pre-med studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Pilots are welcoming, they’re trailblazers, they’re altruists. However, one key component makes all these characteristics that of an SJND Pilot. And that is LOVE. We have grown to love ourselves as confident open-minded leaders who have no fear of standing out. We have been inspired by Christ to love our neighbors, welcome them with open arms, and help them get to their destination. Wherever you end up in the next few months, make the decision to take this love with you and make any place feel like home. Make decisions that are the best for you and that will help you grow as a person. Choose to welcome the stranger and be unapologetically yourself…[And] as we continue to be our individual selves beyond today, let us continue with our school’s mission and commit ourselves to serve others in any way that we can. Especially, when you set foot onto a college campus: remember you are not just studying for your own future. You are studying to save patients. You are studying to save a family’s mother from unjust incarceration. You are studying to change the culture of our society. You’re studying to save the environment. You’re studying to improve international relations. You’re studying so technology progresses. To help us learn from the past. No matter where you are or what your goals are, your decision to study will change the world.”
So blessed to have gone to SJND and to have celebrated my 25th year reunion two weekends ago.
Thank you for reading this far and accompanying me on this journey.