photo of Pepe & Elena Piperno with the executive director of LUCY Outreach

LUCY Breaks Ground!

You can see from the photo above how excited we were to share in the groundbreaking ceremony for LUCY Outreach’s new youth center on May 20. That’s Pepe and Elena Piperno on either side of Kristin Prinn, LUCY’s executive director–all of us thrilled to be part of LUCY’s expansion to serve more Camden youth.

The Domenica Foundation pledged $500,000 over five years to build the new youth center. The new building will double LUCY’s capacity–twice as many participants, twice as many staff. 

Our commitment goes beyond the building. We’ve supported LUCY since its inception as a youth program of St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral under the leadership of Fr. Bob McDermott. We will continue to be with LUCY over the long haul to support its educational, cultural, and social programs for Camden’s youth. As Pepe said in his speech, our gift to LUCY “is not an investment in a building. It’s an investment in changing lives.” 

Kristin provided evidence of the success of LUCY programming, running down a long list of successes of LUCY grads. Of particular note is the fact that every single college-bound member of the LUCY class of 2018 is graduating from college this year. Elite high schools can’t match that!

Other evidence of success came from program participants. The emcee at the groundbreaking event was a LUCY alum. Current participants described how LUCY’s support has turned their lives around.

We were particularly moved to hear Cesar, a LUCY youth and current Domenica Scholar at Cristo Rey Philadelphia, describe how much it meant to him and his family when LUCY staff arrived with a Thanksgiving meal. Food deliveries aren’t technically part of LUCY’s mission, but this is just one of many ways that LUCY staff continued to support families while in-person programming was suspended.

A particular treat for us at the groundbreaking was seeing former Domenica Scholars–graduates of our high school scholarship program–who are also LUCY grads. Many Domenica Scholars participate in LUCY, and many LUCY alums go on to work or volunteer in the program. It was great to see Mario Rivera, currently a LUCY volunteer, and Marlen Medina, a member of the LUCY staff (pictured here with Elena, Pepe, and Kristin).