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Studiosi della Fondazione VII – A key objective of the LIL Foundation’s La Famiglia Scholarship Program is to support the next generation of Italian-American leaders as they continue to demonstrate the contributions that continue to be made by individuals of Italian descent.  This is the seventh in a series featuring past scholarship awardees fulfilling that objective.

     “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Our featured scholar this month gives credibility to those words by Mark Twain!

Anthony Meek, a 2013 Little Italy Lodge Scholarship recipient, says that, as a child, he liked giving advice to friends and family.  He found it fun to help them with problems but learned that it was important to listen, too, and, over the years, realized that true help was more complicated and more rewarding.

He majored in Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2014 (GPA3.93).  He planned on becoming a therapist and, eventually, working toward his PhD in Psychology.  His work with children at St. Vincent’s Villa and conversations with Social Workers, including his mother (and Sponsor), Lodge member Gisele Ferretto, a Social Worker herself, pointed him in a slightly different direction.  He decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work and was awarded that degree in 2017 at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in downtown Baltimore (GPA 3.97).

Today, he is an Employee Assistance Counselor in the Employee Assistance Program at Johns Hopkins providing stress assistance, mental health support, educational programs and urgent crisis intervention within the entire Johns Hopkins University and Medical Systems.   He says that he is honored to know that his clients feel safe entrusting him with their most personal vulnerabilities, knowing that they are safe with him and that he is there to help them develop solutions to those issues, “to walk with them.”  And, Anthony says, “It is a privilege”!

Anthony grew up in Perry Hall but always felt at home in Little Italy during the St. Anthony and St. Gabriele Festivals and still enjoys walking through the Community, stopping for real Italian food (Isabell’s is a quick stop favorite) and conversation.  He now lives within walking distance of Little Italy in Federal Hill!

So, in terms of Mark Twain’s advice, Anthony says “I never have a bad day; I do have hard days but those are my best days because I am helping someone who needs what I can provide.”

The Lodge and the Foundation are proud to have helped Anthony find the truth in the Twain quote!  And, as for the Foundation’s objective?  Ancora una volta, missione compiuta!

                                                                                                            – Tony Montcalmo