“The Junior Committee is going to be our legacy. We are inspiring young kids to do good, to keep them active in a positive way, and to let them be smart and creative and somewhat entrepreneurial to host their own events.”
– Robert Catalano, Event Founder
Teaching young children, the importance of giving back during the early stages of their lives is one of our core values and the inspiration for the formation of our Junior Committee.
Meet some of our inspiring young members.
After meeting a young patient from St. Jude while attending his very first Family Fun Day, Philip knew that he wanted to get more involved with Kids for Kids.
He also left with a great admiration for the Event Founders, including Robert Catalano, and his dad, Bob Bicocchi, who is an Event Chair. “They are role models. With everything that they do, they have time to go back and give to their communities,” Philip says.
His dad expressed to Robert that he wished there was a way that his son could get more involved. According to Robert, a few days later “I woke up and thought, ‘if this young man can be inspired by us and come to events and be impactful, I’m sure there are other children that would want to do that as well.’”
And with that, Philip became a founding member of the Junior Committee, where he now serves as President.
As the leader of the group, Philip keeps the committee focused on their yearly fundraising goals.
“Philip is a great leader,” says founding member and Vice President, Juliana Biondi. “He knows how to get a group together and focus on one goal, and not just meet it, but exceed it.”
In 2017, the committee raised $65,000 and Philip wants to exceed that every year after.
Having hosted numerous events, including a fundraising dinner and a cut-a-thon, Philip’s favorite event is the Family Fun Day. “That’s a great event because we get kids from St. Jude to come in and we get to meet them.”
That connection is very important to Philip and the rest of the Junior Committee. “We really all have a special connection with each other about helping out kids with cancer.”
Juliana and Sofia Biondi
Sisters Juliana and Sofia are both founding members of the Junior Committee, following in the footsteps of their dad, Antonio, who is an Event Chair.
“I think that it’s really important for kids to give back to other people in need – especially sick children – because we have so much,” says Sofia.
For Juliana, who serves as Vice President, being a part of Kids for Kids is about “what you can do for others rather than just yourself. You should extend it throughout everybody, especially the kids who are less fortunate than we are.”
Dad proudly beamed “what’s most impressive to me is that they understand it. They see it. And without motivating them, they’ve taken the effort to drum up their own events.”
Together they started a Math-a-Thon at their school, which has been held several years in a row. “We decided to do a math-a-thon because it would encourage the teachers to encourage the students to get involved because it’s educational,” said Sofia.
In 2017, they had 76 students participate, raising $6,000.
They’ve also participated in skate-a-thons, bake sales, and of course, Family Fun Day, which brings together their friends from all over the area.
“We are more a family now than anything else,” Juliana said with a smile.
Alyssa and Mike Burke
Usually kids join the Junior Committee because their parents are already involved with Kids for Kids, but the opposite is true for Alyssa Burke.
Alyssa first got involved in 2014 through her friend Ava Correra. “I enjoy the thought of helping kids and St. Jude,” said Alyssa. “I thought it would be really fun because I like planning things and I like to help people.”
Her parents were then inspired to get involved, followed by her brother, Michael. “I heard about all the cool stuff they were doing and thought I wanted to join,” recalls Michael. In addition “my parents said it was a very good opportunity for me.”
Both enjoy the sporting events, including bowling and Roller Jam organized by Alyssa.
They also hosted a fundraising event at Denino’s Pizzeria & Tavern, raising $4,500 in one night!
For Alyssa, she looks forward to more members joining the committee. “It’s good to get involved while young. Younger kids have more creativity and an open mind.”
And they both agree that it’s a great place to make new friends.