8/3/2015 12:37:32 AM
Siena Success: Louis Ianniello '83, M.D.
Monday, July 15, 2013
The Quest for Grace Foundation in Schenectady, N.Y., is a charity that supplies free clothes, toys and books to foster children in the New York’s Capital Region, but the most precious commodity it provides is hope -- hope to children who need it most.
“The children that come in here have been abused either mentally, physically, sexually or all three, and frequently all three," said Lou Ianniello '83, M.D. Ianniello and his wife Michele opened the Quest for Grace Foundation in 2005 to provide children respite from a sometimes cruel world. “If you help a child, there’s nothing that makes you feel better," Ianniello said. "To see a child who’s been abused smile, wow, it doesn’t get better.”
One very special child motivated the Ianniellos to start the charity and change lives. That child was Julia Grace, the foster daughter they took in when she was five-and-a-half months old. “She had sustained a horrific tale of abuse and she came into our household a survivor," Ianniello said. “We loved her and we helped her recover from heinous wounds and I would tell her, always, how pretty she was.” At seven months old, her first word was pretty.
Julia Grace developed from a brain damaged child into one who exceeded all of her milestones, but after three-and-a-half years with the Ianniello family, she was returned to her biological parents. “We left that experience feeling drained emotionally, physically, financially, but we also thought it was the greatest thing we’ve ever done," Ianniello said.
The Ianniellos then decided the best way to help foster children was to start the Quest for Grace Foundation. It now serves anywhere from 500 to 1,000 children each year. “If you give a child hope, I think it’s a great gift," Ianniello said.
Ianniello credits his time at Siena College and the Franciscan influence, particularly from former Siena College President Fr. Hugh Hines and Fr. Jerome Massimino, with helping him see the value in serving others.
“I walked on that campus and I’ll never forget the sense of palpable joy that I felt, that I saw, the smiles in the students.” Now, thirty years after graduation, Ianniello is using the Quest for Grace Foundation to spread the Franciscan spirit and Siena College mission creating a more just, peaceable world, one smile at a time.
Contact: Ken Jubie
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