1/28/19: Marisa Fiorentino

Marisa Fiorentino

Name: Marisa Fiorentino
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
FOTO cred: Danced in THON 2013, Fundraising Outreach Officer 2012-13, President 2013-14

When I started my freshman year I wasn't sure of much. One thing I did know was that I wanted to be involved in THON. I immediately joined a committee and thanks to Jamie Guinan's influence, joined FOTO. I knew immediately I wanted to be something more than just a member, but like with everything in life, you need to give it time and find your place. I attended every canning weekend, almost every event or fundraising activity, and any chance I got to hang out with our families I did. Eventually I became an outreach officer for FOTO. Being an officer, I was able to become more involved with our members and was able to communicate with families and THON liaisons frequently. This gave me a true purpose and goal - I needed to show these families and children how much I cared about them. I needed to dance. I was lucky enough to be chosen as a dancer for FOTO in THON 2013. That weekend will be a weekend I will NEVER forget. People always ask me "how did you do it", "how hard was it", and honestly.. it was nothing. It was truly a breeze compared to what so many people in that BJC had gone through in their lives. The following year, I became the President of FOTO and oversaw an AMAZING group of people who raised over $106,000! I worked really hard and made amazing memories, as well as an impact on Four Diamonds Families, and that's what it's all about.

Now I work as a fifth grade teacher in Northeast Philadelphia, with my Masters+15 and Special Education certification. THON has taught me to be compassionate, understanding and passionate with all children, no matter what battles they have or haven't gone through. Children are so special in so many different ways. I urge you to just listen to a child, listen to their story. If you can make one kid smile, each day, whether it be at THON, or family carnival, or even just when you go home for Spring Break - do it! These kids are our future and they need to know that we care about them and are here to support them. One thing I've been complimented on in my professional life is my relationship with kids. I attribute a HUGE part of that to THON and FOTO and the empathy it helped me build towards children of all ages, regardless of circumstances.

My advice to all of you current FOTO members - CHERISH. EACH. MOMENT. They are the most CLIQUE words you will ever hear, but please just do it. I've only been out of college for 5 years, but it feels like a LIFETIME ago and I would give anything to go back and relive some of the memories. You think your stressed because you have to organize a fundraiser? NO - that's FUN. Stress is trying to pay your mortgage, your car payment and figure out if you can still afford BarkBox this month.. When I think back on things I stressed out about in college, I LAUGH. These are the best years of your life, and you are a part of something great. You are a part of something most college students don't get to experience - the largest student run philanthropy in the world. MAKE IT FUN. Make it enjoyable. Do not make it stressful! Save the stress for post-grad life. I promise there will be plenty to go around. I can mail you guys some in a THONvelope if you want.

To wrap things up, as I sit here watching my students work diligently (yes I'm writing this in class, it's called time management people), children are the reason you are doing what you're doing - vulnerable, innocent kids, who have suffered, lost, or survived. These children have watched their siblings and families cry over a diagnosis. These children have been to more doctors appointments in 6 years then I have in 26 years. You're fighting for some children who don't even know they are fighting anything yet. Keep doing what you're doing and enjoy every second you're doing it. It will be over before you know. If you are thinking about dancing? GO FOR IT. If you're thinking about joining a committee? FILL OUT AN APPLICATION! If you're thinking about applying to be an officer? DO IT. This will all be over soon and your time to do it is now. Have fun, no rag-rets, and please don't sweat the small stuff.

All my love & FTK,
xoxo - Marisa Fiorentino

Marisa Fiorentino 

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