Daily Point of Light # 1708 Aug 21, 2000

Daniel Cellucci is the President of the St. Joseph’s Preparatory chapter of the Community Service Corps (CSC). Daniel is currently a senior, and he has been an active member since his freshman year. He was instrumental in the operation of all the organization’s programs. The CSC’s philosophy is to emphasize service to the community by teenagers. The school is geographically located in north Philadelphia, an economically disadvantaged area, and the programs of CSC serve this neighborhood.

During his freshman year, Daniel began to tutor. His manner is quiet and patient, yet quite effective. Each week about 15 children are assisted with their homework and also given an enrichment challenge in math and reading. This fosters an atmosphere of learning as well as a mentoring relationship.

Daniel’s leadership skills were sharpened the more he served. He and another student created a new program call Operation Atlas. This is a cultural awareness program run by students and presented to the sixth grade students in a nearby school. Students from St. Joseph Prep choose a culture, line up speakers, and bring in the appropriate cultural items, pictures, and food to be sampled by the younger students. This model was adopted by other CSC chapters, and each year since its inception, Daniel organized a clothing drive, also. The drive brought in more than 100 large bags of clothing, jackets and blankets annually. He also led food drives to feed families at Thanksgiving.

Under Daniel’s direction, Operation Santa Claus collected more than $7,000 dollars this year. Prep students used the money to buy, wrap, and bag toys that were distributed by teams of students on Christmas Eve. Each spring, Daniel organizes a special drive addressing a particular need in the community such as fans for the elderly one year and sports equipment another.

This is all quite a tremendous amount of accomplishment for a high school senior, but Daniel’s work does not end here. In early fall, the Prep’s CSC committed to fully sponsoring a house to renovate with Habitat for Humanity. This was a huge undertaking and they needed to raise $50,000 to complete the project. Daniel wrote several grant proposals, and he designed a brochure announcing this endeavor. St. Joseph Prep surpassed the goal, and they will be the first school on the East Coast to sponsor a house. Starting this spring, teams of Prep students will begin the physical renovation. This will help to cement a commitment to service by the teenage students that they will carry into their adult lives.