Dear Members of Troop 122,
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share some words about our friend Joe and his inspiring accomplishment with the local charity called The Green Angels. I am honored to have been a small part of this incredible young man’s vision. He is a thoughtful, caring and determined person, who taught me about persistence and dedication over the past year.
In October 2012, I received a message from Joe asking about the requirements of The Green Angels for doing a project to help collect gently used toys in Wayne County in support of his quest to earn Eagle. After exchanging a few notes, I challenged Joe to come learn about our program first-hand by attending our Annual Holiday Free-Cycle Event. He arrived at the Pal-Mac Middle School on a Friday afternoon, ready to work unloading trucks, unpacking boxes and organizing toys. I was impressed from the moment he arrived. Joe dug in and worked his tail off. Not once did he ever ask, “what else can I do?”. He simply took his own initiative and worked circles around other people. I had a good feeling his project could go somewhere, especially when arrived the following day to do it all over again. He showed up early and stayed late both days to lend a helping hand. I could tell he was serious.
In the coming months, Joe and I had planning meetings at our favorite spot in Newark at Burger King. He outlined his plan for raising funds and collecting toys to help kids who don’t have any. We would discuss at length how challenging it can be to get support for even the most noble of causes, like helping other kids. Early on, Joe experienced unanswered calls for funding and mixed signals from other potential supporters. As he encountered these seemingly huge obstacles, his true character began to guide him. Joe adapted his plan and never lost sight of his goal, which was to help other kids. I recall one meeting in particular where it was clear that Joe’s spirit had been tested quite a bit that week. He shared with me how disappointed he was becoming, but stressed that he was never going to consider giving up. I remember leaving that meeting with his words ringing in my head, “I just really want to help some kids who don’t have toys” he kept saying. If he said it once, he said it a 100 times that night.
From that point on, Joe found a way to enroll others in his dream and then it started to become a reality. Joe sharpened his message and turned this dream into a mission. On a shoestring budget, Joe created flyers, had them printed, had them posted, had them distributed, created collection boxes and coordinated pickups at different school locations for a month. I will never forget receiving a text message from him with a picture of the first boxes of toys. I could see him glowing with pride on the other end. As the toys came rolling in that month, we were able to share with Joe some of the stories of kids he had helped immediately. He helped kids that live in our towns, live on our streets, maybe they even live next door. It was an incredible delight to see his plan in action.
In the end, Joe’s idea yielded truckloads of toys, books, clothes, games and puzzles which we immediately began distributing to local families. His work resulted in 100’s of kids both giving and receiving, which is the whole point of our charity. We aim to teach people about the power of giving and sense of community. Friends, Joe Cavallaro found a way to tap into his fellow students’ hearts and minds. Not once did he accept “no” for an answer. Joe stayed true to his compass, followed his heart and delivered on his promise to “help some kids who don’t have toys”, just as he said he would. Joe’s leadership provided the gift of hope to kids he will never meet. This young man’s work will continue to inspire others to follow in his steps by participating in community service. We share his story knowing that others will be motivated to take on a greater cause. Our slogan at The Green Angels is “Giving Forward and Back”. And in the end, I am the one who received the biggest gift, which was to work with Joe.
Congratulations Joe, I am proud of you. Your friends at The Green Angels, Bill Doyle.