Reminder H.E.R.O Article, March 22, 2018

Help those in need through the ‘H.E.R.O.’ program

March 22, 2018 | Payton North
payton@thereminder.com

LONGMEADOW – Longtime Longmeadow resident Tony Odierna needs your help. Join him and other like-minded individuals with a passion for helping those in need through his new program, “H.E.R.O.”

Odierna’s drive for community service and helping others derived from his parents.  Throughout his childhood, they emphasized the need to help others.  When Odierna began his teaching career in South Windsor, CT he started the “Magic Club” which featured a group of kids that would choose projects to work on to help the community.  The Magic Club was eventually recognized by the state of Connecticut, and the group received a “Heroes of Greater Hartford” award in the community impact category.

“I go to church, I was taught to give something back. I taught Social Studies and History over the years and it was always on my mind. Citizens need to be involved and need to be involved continually,” Odierna reflected.

Over the years, even after his retirement from teaching full-time, Odierna has volunteered for various schools in numerous positions.  He noted he’s read to children in school libraries, was a kindergarten teacher volunteer and an assistant gym teacher for years.   Since his decision to retire further and take a step back from volunteering in schools, Odierna has created what he calls the H.E.R.O. program: Helping Everyone Receive Opportunities.

Odierna explains the H.E.R.O. program as one that connects those in need to the resources they require.

“Basically, it involves concerned citizens collaborating on extending the simplest of benefits and favors, social, financial, physical, to needy people unable to help themselves emerge from a desperate situation and who cannot secure aid from any existing program,” Odierna explained.

Currently, Odierna is looking for volunteers with any range of skill sets to contact him, come together and work collaboratively to get the H.E.R.O. program off the ground.

“The first step would be for people to contact me,” Odierna said. “Three to four or five weeks from now, we’ll see how many people contact me and then have a meeting. Someone will be in charge of contacting social agencies, another contacting organizations to contribute money, we’ll see what happens.”

Those who join Odierna’s H.E.R.O. team will be provided the opportunity to not only gain community service experience but also work closely with others and hone in on interpersonal communication skills.

“The program is limitless, it could be anything under the universe. Say some kid is a prodigy and needs a violin to practice; I could spend a year writing down examples. To me, it seems like a no brainer,” Odierna said.  “I’ve always been concerned about the most unfortunate of the unfortunate, people that do fall between the cracks.”

For more information about the H.E.R.O. program, go to http://tonyohockey.com/hero_program/.  To contact Odierna for more information, email him at aodierna@comcast.net.

“The H.E.R.O. Program will succeed if individuals are determined to extend themselves and reflect upon how citizen involvement is the fuel that propels our communities and nation,” Odierna said.