Honoree: Calabresi In America Organization (CIAO)
It is no coincidence the first letters of the Calabresi In America Organization form the friendly Italian salutation "ciao." CIAO, a non-profit charitable and social association, warmly welcomes those who celebrate their Calabrese roots.
CIAO preserves and promotes the traditions, heritage, culture, and language of Italy's southernmost region for all Calabresi-Americans. The organization strives to inspire in its members the highest interest of humanity, honor, and brotherly love, and to assistance the needy, sick, and distressed.
As President Frank DeCicco states, "Although our mission can be easily summarized in a single sentence, making it a reality takes time and hard work from everyone. Using the input and advice of my fellow past and current officers, (CIAO ensures) that young Calabresi, like I was when I first joined, can share our heritage and traditions with their children and their children's children."
CIAO is active in its members' lives. In September, CIAO leads its "La Bellezza di Calabria" tour to Italy. At October's Installation Dinner Dance, scholarships are given to outstanding college bound students with Calabrese roots. Members also enjoy February's Valentine Dance, the June golf outing, the Lake Michigan cruise, November's Turkey Raffle, and other events.
CIAO is also active in the Italian community. Every October, CIAO joins other Italian American organizations for Chicago's Columbus Day Parade. CIAO supports the Casa Italia, the Italian Cultural Center, holding events there like its Christmas Party, serving roasted chestnuts, cuddrurieddri, and other traditional dishes. Casa Italia also hosts CIAO's Festa di San Francesco di Paola, honoring Calabria's Patron Saint, every August. Casa Italia is chaired by the university's good friend Tony Turano.
Along with President DeCicco, CIAO executives are Richard Belmonte (1st VP), Angelo Castanza Jr., (2nd VP), Lisa Perkins (3rd VP), Angela Incandela (Recording Secretary), Alberto DeCicco (Corresponding Secretary), Frank Salerno (Treasurer), Mary De Santo (Assistant Treasurer), Carmine Russo (Sergeant at Arms), and John Spina (Legal Advisor). Directors are Albert Belmonte, Rosemarie Caiafa, Frank Nudo, Carmel Ruffolo, Maria Ruffolo, Mario Salerno, Roy Salerno, Pina Stefanelli, John Tagliaferro, and Egidio Turano.CIAO, Italia!