Recent Nutley High School graduate Fiorella Rivera has been awarded the first-ever LoCurcio Scholarship from Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB). Named for the LoCurcio family, who have been actively involved with NFSB for decades, the $1,000 scholarship will be awarded annually to one student who has volunteered at NFSB.
“One thing I love about volunteering is that it’s related to so many other things I enjoy,” Fiorella said. “I was first introduced to NFSB when I started gardening with Giving Garden and we donated fresh vegetables and herbs to The Pantry. I’ve always loved cooking from the time my dad showed me how to make rice when I was little, so I started my own garden. With so many vegetables in my backyard, I’ve been able to try recipes from different cultures.”
When Fiorella started bringing vegetables to The Pantry, she saw food being distributed to people in need. From the time she joined Key Club as a freshman at Nutley High School, she worked closely with NFSB, from assisting with various food drives to sorting and organizing donations in both The Pantry and The Shop.
“I don’t come from a rich family,” Fiorella said. “Before I moved to Nutley as a fifth grader, my family would get food from local food pantries in Belleville. When I see people receive food from NFSB, I think, ‘That used to be me.’ Volunteering at NFSB shows the humanity in this world. It gives me hope because I know there are good people who want to help others.”
In addition to gardening and cooking, Fiorella loves making jewelry with anything from nature, especially crystals, pearls, and shells. She competed in track and field for all four years of high school in the javelin, shot put, and discus and managed the cross-country team during her junior and senior year.
“That was a lot of fun,” Fiorella said of managing the cross-country team. “I set up an Instagram page for the team and posted photos that I took. People would actually look forward to seeing new photos every week. I’ve been fortunate to be able to play sports and be creative.”
Fiorella plans to cultivate that creativity at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, where she’ll major in business and technology with a concentration in marketing.
“I hope to start a marketing agency of my own in New York City someday,” Fiorella said. “The marketing field has become a huge passion of mine because I can use my creativity in a lot of different ways, like art and writing.”
Having the LoCurcio Scholarship from NFSB will help Fiorella in her journey. She has thoroughly enjoyed her time volunteering and expects service to always be a major part of her life.
“When I got the scholarship, it made me proud because I must have made a mark in some way,” Fiorrella said. “I know I did something to make them think, ‘We want her to have this scholarship.’ That makes me proud and grateful. And when I see other people at NFSB volunteer because they love it, not because they have to, it’s very inspiring.”
NFSB awarded two scholarships to graduating seniors for the first time this year. All applicants must have volunteered at NFSB and were required to write an essay on the impact volunteering has had on their lives.
“We hope these scholarships encourage more young people to embrace volunteering for the rest of their lives,” said Katherine Carmichael, Executive Director of NFSB. “NFSB has such a great relationship with Nutley High School and the students are always eager to support our efforts. We couldn’t be happier for Fiorella, and we wish her all the best as she continues her education!”
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