The 2021 Paul DeRuosi Memorial Community Service Scholarship will be presented to Fresno State sophomore Lucca Lorenzi of Merced. The award, which includes a $1,000 scholarship, is given each year to a student who exemplifies the commitment to service that Paul DeRuosi championed during his distinguished 31-year career at Fresno State.
After two lifesaving surgeries at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Lorenzi was eager to find a way to give back to the hospital. In 2017, Lorenzi launched “Pack It Up For Packard,” which started as an art supply donation to encourage the healing power of creativity for the more than 500,000 children treated there every year. When Lorenzi discovered the hospital’s library shelves empty, he decided to sponsor book drives at a local elementary school’s book fair where parents could buy a book in English or Spanish to be donated to the hospital, with proceeds benefiting the school’s library. This ensured books for both libraries and progress towards the hospital’s goal of sending every child home with their favorite book.
Having dyslexia and knowing the power of reading, Lorenzi understood the urgent need for books. To date, Lorenzi has collected over 7,000 art supplies and books for the hospital. In 2020, Lorenzi created over 10 “Thank You” videos for the hospital. He also created 20 coloring sheets for patients and their families; each coloring sheet was designed to match a different California ecosystem (matching the theme of each floor in the hospital). He also created art video tutorials for the art therapy program and raised over $500 for its virtual holiday toy drive.
Due to the pandemic, Lorenzi had to look for new, safe ways to continue to serve his community. Each of his quarantine service projects ties back to his time at Lucile Packard and encourages the healing power of creativity.
- In April, he led a virtual “Thank You” card drive for frontline healthcare workers. He collected the cards and created a video that was sent to five hospitals in the Central Valley.
- In June, he created and sold virtual art with all proceeds donated to the NAACP.
- In October, he created a flyer and promoted an event called “Trick or Yeet,” the latter meaning to toss or throw. It was a drive-through for families that promoted social distancing.
Lorenzi’s service work does not stop there. He also volunteers at St. Patrick’s Church and Playhouse Merced, where he helps lead the theater’s summer children’s conservatory program. Lorenzi also served as a camp counselor for Merced 4H camp for two summers, and developed curriculum for campers. Lorenzi has completed over 156 hours of service in the last year and over 700 hours of service since his freshman year of high school.
In response to winning the award, Lorenzi said, “I cannot express how incredibly grateful and honored I am to have received this award. Even during a virtual academic semester, Fresno State continues to support student projects and community service activities.”
The Paul DeRuosi Memorial Community Service Scholarship is sponsored by the DeRuosi family and is administered by the Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State.
For more information, contact Taylan Parker, Richter Center, at 559.278.7079.
(Story by Taylan Parker)