In recognition of the many dedicated Elk volunteers using CIP grants to better their communities, we'll now feature one volunteer each month. November's featured volunteer is Bob Sollazzo of Mid-Westchester, N.Y., Lodge No. 535.
Many Ways to Serve
As a former Marine, Bob Sollazzo knows a thing or two about dedicated service. Now a member of Mid-Westchester, N.Y., Lodge No. 535, Sollazzo serves his country in a different way—by organizing and volunteering with service projects in his community.
It was exactly this that led him to join the Elks in the first place. “The main reason I joined the Elks was due to the fact that my daughter was born with Cerebral Palsy,” Sollazzo says. “She needed a hip operation, and I was so impressed with the Elks as they came forward to help us. I truly appreciated their concern, and I was so inspired that I wanted to get involved and give back.” (At right: Bob Sollazzo accepts an award from a local organization on behalf of the Lodge, in recognition of its Teen and Young Adult Social Club Impact Grant project.)
Words put into Action
Those aren’t simply words. Sollazzo has proved his commitment. As one of the project managers for the Lodge's Impact Grant project Teen and Young Adult Social Club, he helps provide social and recreational opportunities for people with disabilities. Twice a month, the Elks organize and accompany teens with disabilities on outings that they normally wouldn’t be able to. The project helps the teens escape their social isolation and act like their teenage peers.
Master Project Manager
Sollazzo also helps manage several other grant projects at the Lodge. “ENF grants help our Lodge to serve our community, and have made all of this possible,” he says.
He has encouraged the Lodge to get involved with local scout troops, and the Lodge uses part of a Promise Grant to hold the Cub Scout Pine Wood Derby each year. The Lodge uses its Gratitude Grant to hold regular events for residents of a local VA hospital and to support a local food pantry. This past year, the Lodge also used the Promise Grant to develop a Cub Scout Program for boys and girls with disabilities. Sollazzo seeks out and organizes scout projects ideally suited to the children in the troop. (At left: Sollazzo, standing, poses with the newly formed Scout Troop.)
“Bob Sollazzo’s whole life has been deep in service to others,” says Ron Rezza, who works closely with Sollazzo on many of the Lodge’s grant projects. “He deserves to be recognized.”
At the ENF, we're happy to recognize him as a CIP Superstar.
The Elks National Foundation will help Lodges meet local needs by investing up to $6.5 million this year in Elks communities through Beacon, Gratitude, Promise and Impact Grants. These grants offer Lodges an opportunity to serve the community in ways that will raise the Lodge’s profile, energize the membership, encourage former members to return to the fold, and gain the notice of people who want to be part of an organization that’s doing great things. To learn more about the Community Investments Program, please visit www.elks.org/enf/community.