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Alumni Stories - Richard Recchia

How did you get involved with Inner-City Scholarship Fund?

After difficult experiences in public school early on, my mom moved me to Catholic school in the second grade. It’s tough to remember exactly what year I got an Inner-City Scholarship Fund sponsor because I was so young, but it was definitely early on because I remember writing thank you letters to her in the 4th or 5th grade.

Do you remember who it was?

Absolutely, I had the same sponsor, Margaret Sharkey, throughout grade school and high school. I actually reached out and wrote to her in late 2013. I wanted to thank her and let her know that I am eternally grateful that she decided to help me so long ago, without knowing me at all.

What kind of difference did her sponsorship make?

It made all the difference. I grew up in the projects in Manhattan. Unless you’ve lived in poverty you really don’t understand how debilitating it is. I’m not talking about wants, I’m talking about needs that people can’t meet.

From little things like heat and hot water to bigger things like an education, you just start at a disadvantage. It’s a feeling of hopelessness more than anything else because of the crime and the lack of people trying to do positive things with their lives. But I was really lucky because I got to go to Catholic schools and I knew if I did well it would give me an opportunity to remove myself from my situation and make a better life. I think my ability to think that way was a result of the experiences I had in Catholic school.

You’ve already accomplished so much, what does the future hold?

If I could go from where I started and get here already, anything is possible. I’ll keep an open mind. As time goes on I hope to have opportunities to help people. I feel like I have an obligation to do.

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