The New York Cares community is heartbroken by the passing of one of our most devoted and beloved volunteers, Theresa Benedetti. Theresa passed away in her sleep this past Sunday night, March 18. Her passing was completely unexpected. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her and had the pleasure of serving by her side.
Theresa joined the New York Cares family in 2012. She participated in nearly 800 volunteer projects and was responsible for orienting hundreds of new volunteers, introducing them to the world of community service. Theresa made a tremendous difference in New York City through her service, dedication, leadership, and friendship. She has left a mark on all of our hearts and will forever be remembered by the New York Cares community.
The information on the wake and funeral can be found here. Theresa had a living will which indicated that in lieu of flowers, she would like donations to be made to New York Cares. It is clear that her work with the organization meant as much to her as Theresa meant to all of us.
Here are just a few of the messages we've received from clients and New York Cares staff since Sunday:
The last time you were here, you said that your passion was being here on Game Night with us tenants. That really touched me.
I can say that game night will not be the same. I know you just lost your mother, who you were taking care of - now you are with her in heaven. You will be missed." - Client, Game Night at Times Square Hotel
"I remember my interactions with her well. I reached out to her to join the Speakers Bureau in 2014 because I'd heard such positive things from Program Managers. Like in every other interaction with Theresa, when I reached out, she was more than willing to step up. It was always clear that volunteering was something she took seriously, and something whose importance she truly believed in. It was not just a productive way to fill free time, but an important aspect of her life. She was also always incredibly kind, sincere, and personable in every interaction we had. She embodied the spirit that powers New York Cares." - Glenn Wolff-Eisenberg, Associate Director of Community Partner Relations and Evaluation
"Theresa Benedetti was an amazing woman, and I will truly miss her. More than just a stellar volunteer, Team Leader, and Speaker, Theresa was an inspiration to me, a guide for what I wanted to be. When she signed up for one of the projects I team led, I was so nervous that I was going to somehow mess up, but I shouldn’t have worried. Theresa was an honest and supportive person and truly wanted to inspire volunteers. One of my favorite New York Cares experiences was when she took us on a tour of Grand Central Station. I always wanted to have the passion and drive that she had to pursue her interests and also give back. Theresa was one of the Team Leaders I trusted at New York Cares because she asked thoughtful questions and gave constructive feedback. Even though she had concerns, she wanted to see Group Volunteering grow and helped me build the tools to improve it. In 2016, Theresa set a personal goal of completing 500 volunteer hours in a year. In celebration of this impressive achievement, she invited the people who were there for her journey to a little "get-together," and I was honored to be included. Celebrating her that night, I saw how many people she was able to impact and the change that one person can truly make. We should all remember her for her passion, commitment, and leadership." - Maggie Bernhard, Manager of Group Volunteer Experience
And finally, a quote from Theresa at the 2016 Team Leader Conference:
"I’m a lucky girl. I have traveled the world this past year. I went to Iran, I went to the Dominican Republic, and soon I’m going to see some animals from Africa. And I’ve done this all as a New York Cares volunteer. I have spoken with a woman from Iran during an English Conversation Partners project - a session where she told me about her beautiful garden which she had to leave to come to America to lead a better life for her family. I’ve met women from the Dominican Republic who are putting food on their table through a food pantry that I’ve helped out at and in a couple of weeks I’ll be going to the Central Park Zoo to go with school children to introduce them to animals they might never ever see. As a New York Cares volunteer, you will have these types of experiences. Welcome to New York Cares." - Theresa Benedetti, Volunteer, Team Leader, and friend