The NBC film crew captures footage at Banis Park in Worcester. Image by John Buckingham
On May 6, the College of the Holy Cross and the Working for Worcester project took a place in the national spotlight as “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” showcased the city-wide project, which raised more than $100,000 and renovated 20 community recreation sites in the City.
The “Making a Difference” segment featured Jeffrey Reppucci ’14, a Russian major and a member of the men’s varsity hockey team, who studied abroad in Russia as a sophomore. Reppucci told NBC Nightly News he was visiting the small village of Suzdal, Russia, when he was struck by the poor conditions at a local school and the lack of recreational spaces for children to play. “I had to find a way to help,” he said.
Reppucci returned to Holy Cross and recruited his roommate and hockey teammate, Derek Kump ’14. Together, the two started a nonprofit organization, Students Helping Children Across Borders, in their dorm room. He said they raised the money from friends, family and corporate sponsors. Then Reppucci returned to Suzdal for a month to get to work. “We built a playground at the school… worked with the community, and it just was a completely life-changing experience for me, a pivotal moment,” said Reppucci.
He told NBC correspondent Ron Mott he would have never predicted a project launched in a foreign land would end up making a difference in his own college town.
“Once back home, Reppucci decided his success in Suzdal could be used to help transform neighborhoods around Worcester — and a project called Working for Worcester was born. The group brought together students of all ages at Holy Cross and other neighboring colleges to focus on recreational spaces stateside, building playgrounds, basketball courts and dance studios for youth in their community. This year, more than 700 college students from 10 schools participated,” Mott reported.
Reppucci was recently awarded the prestigious BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award and has been selected to deliver the Class of 2014 valedictory address.
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