By Jennifer Meshanko for The Island Connection
Volunteer service has been an integral part of Alyssa Gallo’s life. Growing up in New York, she served as a volunteer camp counselor and basketball coach.
After attending her first two years of college at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., she transferred to the College of Charleston to be closer to her parents in Bluffton, SC. Alyssa will be graduating in May with a degree in Anthropology.
Even though Alyssa has only lived in Charleston for a couple of years, she has definitely made an impact in the local community. She helped establish The Lonon Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps children affected by a parent or caregiver’s cancer diagnosis find comfort, heal and grow from their shared experiences. Alyssa was the foundation’s director of marketing, but now serves on their board of directors.
Alyssa was introduced to Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach when she decided to complete her Anthropology internship with the organization. She assisted with the Yes, I Can! After School and the English as a Second Language programs. Alyssa enjoyed helping with the programs so much that she decided to continue volunteering after her internship was over.
“I love the sense of community in volunteering with the Outreach center,” says Alyssa. “I’ve gotten to know all of our ESL students and our students in the after school program, and I genuinely enjoy coming to volunteer every Tuesday and Thursday to see their smiling faces.” Being bilingual, Alyssa was able to impact a student’s life by assisting them with a job search. “I felt that this was a huge deal because they are trusting me to help them with a career path.”
Alyssa believes volunteering at Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach is an experience “you’re never going to forget! The people who work and attend classes at OLMCO are some of the best and most hardworking people I’ve ever met.”