Working for Working was founded in a Holy Cross dorm room back in the fall of 2012, nearly 12 years later the organization has grown in the impactful organization it has become today.
From Humble Origins
The Founding Project Team:
The project was founded in the Fall of 2012 by an incredible group of College Students, meeting in dorm rooms, developing the concept and eventual movement of Working for Worcester.
Kelly Burke, Walpole MA
Jack Carter, Lynn MA
Christin Di Scipio, Boulder CO
Alex Femia, Buffalo NY
Tom Kelly, Sydney Australia
Lisa LeBlanc, Nashua NH
Chris Robert, Worcester MA
Meghan Wood, Westborough MA
Bill Garey, Beverly MA
Working for Worcester
From Dorm Room to Playground:
The Story of Jeff Reppucci & Derek Kump
Year 1 assembly the one of the very early playgrounds.
Derek Kump, Mayor Joe Petty, and Jeff Reppucci celebrating the first ever Build Day!
The First of Many Basketball Hoops installed across Worcester at Rick Square School.
In the fall of 2012, Holy Cross junior roommates Jeff Reppucci and Derek Kump decided that they wanted to step outside their campus gates and learn a bit more about the greater city of Worcester, MA—a city that, despite being the second largest in New England, can feel like it's far removed for many of the 35,000+ college students who call Worcester home every year. Being college hockey players, Reppucci and Kump’s natural connection to the community was through sports. They visited recreational spaces like parks and schoolyards, but found spaces that were either non-existent or in serious disrepair. Thus, the inspiration for Working for Worcester was born: Reppucci and Kump launched an organization dedicated to mobilizing college students to improve recreation infrastructure and opportunities within neighborhoods across the city.
As Reppucci and Kump brought the idea to campus leaders, friends, and local advocates, the vision for W4W picked up momentum and grew with the addition of every enthusiastic college student. Soon, they were leading a small team at Holy Cross; meeting in a dorm room at all hours of the night; and working to build partnerships, connect with worthy sites, and engage donors. After a few months, the team had connected with wonderful community sites such as South High School and the Worcester Youth Center to design renovation projects like a new playground and a first-rate dance studio. The vision also grew to a citywide service day to mobilize everyone from corporations to college students to create these spaces in one giant day of community service and pride. The date was set for April 20th, but by mid-February, the team found itself with only a few thousand dollars raised through grassroots donations and roughly 100 committed volunteers. They had no corporate sponsors and were struggling to connect with the right local leaders. At the end of February, thanks to inspiring connections with leaders like the Mayor’s Office and the United Way of Central, MA, the W4W team found themselves in front of boardrooms at some of Worcester’s major businesses and civic groups. The vision proved strong enough to rally the community. In the six weeks leading up to the first “build day” on April 20th, the eight Holy Cross students were able to engage more than a dozen corporations and raise $60,000+, recruit 500+ volunteers from six area colleges, and plan twelve exciting community renovation projects like playgrounds, community gardens, schoolyard basketball courts, and many more. The ultimate execution was a powerful moment for the students of W4W, college citizenship, and the city as close to 700 people descended onto the W4W kick-off rally and then wielded shovels, hammers, and brushes to get to work for the kids!