Your Past Can Help Define Your Future

Development manager uses her life lessons to pay it forward

  “The defining moment of my life was the death of my mom.  Everything happens relative to that.”

            Rosaria grew up in Allentown, the oldest of three siblings, and raised by a single mother.  It wasn’t easy.  Her mother was a teacher in the Diocese, and at times she struggled to make ends meet.  As the oldest child Rosaria shared the responsibility of looking after her younger siblings.

            Despite hardships, the first lesson she learned from her mother is that there are people in this world who have it worse.  They didn’t have money to donate to worthy causes, but they had time they could volunteer.  That was a lesson she strives to honor.

            Several years ago, Rosaria’s mother died unexpectedly.  A short time later Rosaria and her husband separated, and she found herself without a place to live.  She turned to her church and they helped her find a place to live, and they provided her with the money to pay her rent. These two events had a profound effect, and Rosaria decided to make some changes.

            She remembered her mom working to raise three children, and the importance of helping those in need, despite a lack of resources.  She considered this in light of her recent experiences of charity stepping in to help when she had no idea what she was going to do.  Perhaps the most important lesson is that she learned many people are perhaps one or two events from homelessness.

            She began working part-time in the Development Department at the Allentown Rescue Mission.  After a short time, she was given a full-time position.  She is now the Development Manager and oversees public relations, donor relations and events.

            She is a member of the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, as well as a member of the Allentown Rotary Club.  She has been called one of the Top 50 of Women in the Lehigh Valley.

            “My most memorable moment at the Allentown Rescue Mission was seeing a formerly homeless man get his first job with benefits in his 50s.”

            “What I find most surprising are the number of people who donate not just money, but time.  It reminds me of my mother.  We didn’t have much, so we gave our time.  People, families come to the Mission to paint the stairwells or cook a meal for the homeless men.  It’s incredible.”

            Rosaria’s mother taught her the importance of family and charity, and, unexpectedly, a lesson about the fragility of life, but that same tragic event was the impetus for Rosaria to get involved in providing local solutions to the problem of homelessness.

            “The Rescue Mission is my home.  My future plan is to continue working to secure funding and expand outreach so that we can continue to help homeless men.”