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Student First Responders Commitment Celebrated By Aspiring Kindness Foundation  


From left, Jason Tarantino, Jim Merizio and Mike Merizio present an Aspiring Kindness Foundation donation to Tracy Gottlieb.

A charity in honor of the victims of the Seton Hall residence hall fire donated $22,500 to enable scholarships for Seton Hall students who are devoting their lives to careers as first responders. The donation was presented by Jason Tarantino, Mike Merizio and Jim Merizio to Tracy Gottlieb, Vice President of Student Services.

"We are so grateful to the Aspiring Kindness Foundation for their continued support of Seton Hall University and our students. This year's grant of $22,500 will be dedicated for scholarships to upper class students who have a commitment to first responder roles. This is a wonderful way to ensure the stability of the next generation of first responders. Seton Hall University and our students are deeply indebted to their generous spirit," said Gottlieb.

The Aspiring Kindness Foundation was created by high school friends of Boland Hall fire victim Aaron Karol to honor him and the other young men who died in the January 2000 fire, Frank Caltabilota and John Giunta. The money was raised at the foundation's Fourth Annual Golf Outing in June 2016.

The Aspiring Kindness Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit public corporation that has raised more than $100,000 to support first responders, emergency service providers and fire prevention and education programs. Among earlier Seton Hall donations were $20,000 to Seton Hall's Housing and Resident Life for the first ever Mock Fire Emergency Exercise that brought together student volunteers, the Department of Housing and Residence Life, Public Safety, the South Orange Fire and Police departments and Rescue Squad, The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) volunteers. A donation of $12,000 was given to the University's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), enabling students to participate in the Send Silence Packing exhibit on suicide awareness and prevention to help young people struggling in the aftermath of a tragedy.

Foundation President Jason Tarantino said, "After last year's fire exercise, we wanted to do something different. We feel this scholarship is a great idea because it recognizes Aaron and celebrates his life and also recognizes first responders and emergency service providers."

Aspiring Kindness Foundation wanted to provide these four scholarships of $5,625 to the University, explained Jim Merizio.

"We wanted to connect these scholarships to Seton Hall students and to acknowledge the first responders commitment to a life of service," he shared.

"The annual memorial mass, the remembrance garden and ringing of the bells lets everyone remember, even after 17 years, and share the story and the importance of fire safety," said Mike Merizio.

The foundation has its next fundraising event on March 26, a New Jersey Devils Event, and on June 19 the Fifth Annual Golf Outing at the Forest Hill Field Club in Bloomfield is scheduled. To learn more about these events and the foundation, click here »

Categories: Business

For more information, please contact:

  • Laurie Pine
  • (973) 378-2638
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