Sunday, July 21, 2024

Anthony Galluccio, center, with students at last year’s Annual Youth Sports Volunteer Recognition Breakfast. (Photo: Galluccio Associates via social media)

The Annual Youth Sports Volunteer Recognition Breakfast arrives Saturday with guests sportswriter Steve Buckley of The Athletic, comedian Tony V and Kelvin Moses of Healthpeak Properties, a new corporate player in Cambridge – but, more importantly, it comes with a new crop of honorees.

Receiving scholarships from the breakfast and its organizers, the Galluccio Associates law firm of former mayor and state representative Anthony Galluccio, are Che Santos, Nick Hunt, Leila Mohammed, Nyla Collazo, Jeffery White Jr., Jahnae Williams, Merhawi Hadgu, Wilenchie Francois, Zayden Whitehead and Cesar Damian Gonzalez Rodriguez.

Volunteer recognitions will go to Phil Rizzuto, Sarah Roszler, Jim Sullivan and Nick Herbold under the Youth Sports Volunteer and Coaches category. The Brian P. Murphy Parent Coach Awards will be given to Patrick Brennan and in memory of Mike Brennan. Lula Amanuel will get the John O’ Connor Special Recognition Award, and Matt Myersohn will get the Julio Lugo Award.

This is the organization’s 28th breakfast since it started in 1996, though it started awarding scholarships to student athletes in 2011; since the program started, 120 students have been honored. 

“It’s more important than ever to bring everyone together to remind everyone that we all have the same thing in common: supporting kids,” said Galluccio, whose firm also donates to youth sports organizations across the city.

It’s a family effort. Sister Lissa Galluccio has been involved in the organization since the beginning as director. She has recently taken on the position of treasurer after her mom reduced her role with the organization. The Recognition Breakfast is “heartfelt” and “makes the city feel smaller,” Lissa Galluccio said.

“People really devote their hearts to these youth sports organizations and coaching, and there’s really no return besides the amount of joy that they receive from it and how much it means to the kids,” Lissa Galluccio said.

The Galluccio Associates’ event advisory board – mostly people who grew up in Cambridge, coached youth sports and are active in the sports community – nominates honorees based on their contribution to youth sports and athletic performance. Students are nominated for scholarships through applications filled out by coaches and are identified for awards based on need and their academic and sports performance, said Kelly Leary, a member of the advisory board.

Also of note is the student’s character. Leary said she asks “Are they someone who gives back to the community? Are they a good teammate?” when considering a nominee.

Leary, a 20-year coach at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, herself was honored at a Zoom version of the breakfast for her volunteer volleyball program. 

Leary teared up during her ceremony as one of her students presented her with the award. “When it’s a student, that hits home and reminds you of why you do what you do,” Leary said.

Another past recipient, Kathleen Mccollin Skelton, was honored for her almost decade’s work of developing a girl’s youth basketball program. Mccollin Skelton recalls the hot summers she’d spent in Cambridge parks helping young girls develop their game so they could get scholarships. She also helped participants look for colleges and assisted in emotional development.

She doesn’t serve the community in hopes of being rewarded, Mccollin Skelton said, but it’s meaningful to be recognized.

Galluccio Associates’ Annual Youth Sports Volunteer Recognition Breakfast is from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday in the grand ballroom of the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 40 Edwin H. Land Blvd., East Cambridge. Information is here.