Getting to Know Francis Codispoti
By RosaLisa Licci
Many know Il Centro as a warm and welcoming neighborhood community center where one can work out, de-stress, learn new skills, or mingle with friends. Walking through the building you are sure to meet a bubbly and caring person whom incorporates all his heart and soul into his work, making our members’ experience at Il Centro unforgettable! Let’s get to know Francis Codispoti, Il Centro’s Senior Supervisor.
Francis is a product of a proud Italian American household. At a young age, Francis was extremely involved in different neighborhood organizations and was always intertwined with the Federation of Italian American Organizations (FIAO) in one way or another. At the age of 9, he and his family moved upstate. However, his close ties to Brooklyn remained strong through his frequent visits to his family and friends. Asked about his first real introduction to FIAO, Francis vividly remembers his senior year of high school, when while researching scholarship opportunities he discovered and applied for one of FIAO’s scholarships. After writing the required essay on what made him most proud to be Italian American, Francis was honored by FIAO’s acknowledgment when he was chosen to receive the scholarship, invited to the annual Gala ceremony, and most significantly required to donate 2 weeks of community service at FIAO’s Beacon Program thus beginning his journey with the Federation and his return to his hometown of Brooklyn.
Excelling during his community service time at FIAO’s Beacon After-School Program, Francis was offered a part-time position at FIAO’s Cornerstone Program in the Marlboro Projects at the young age of 18, which he happily accepted. He started off as a group leader and in a short amount of time, his skills helped him to expand his role in becoming an assistant director of the program.
From that first moment working with FIAO and having the ability to make a difference, Francis set a goal to become part of FIAO’s dream community cultural center, Il Centro.
Francis takes pride in remembering the majority of our 2,800 members and makes sure to give them a personalized greeting as the enter the facility. As one of Il Centro’s Senior Supervisors his primary objective is to keep the day-to-day operations of the facility running smoothly, focusing on programs and classes, staffing, and memberships. He strives to improve all aspects of the facility to the best of his ability.
His goals for the future of Il Centro are simple: he would like to exceed the expectations set forth by those who have shaped the dream into a reality of opening the first Italian American community center in New York City. He wants to expand all the programs and events beyond all our wildest dreams in being able to represent the Italian American heritage while enhancing the lives of all the members of the community.
When asked what his favorite part of his job at Il Centro is, he proudly states “I’m able to impact and influence as many members of the community as I can and bring as much joy to their lives as possible, whether that is through satisfying their basic needs or being someone for them to rely on and confide in. I take a tremendous amount of pride in the fact I can be a positive role model by helping the next generation. As I’ve gotten older, I have gained a newfound appreciation of my Italian American heritage and traditions; my favorite part of being at Il Centro is that as an Italian American who is a member of the community, I can do my part to continue the legacy and the traditions left to me by my predecessors and ensure that those lessons and legacies will live on and supersede me.”
All colleagues clearly see the passion and love that Francis has for the community and for his heritage. He is Il Centro’s phenomena whose energy and positivity inspires staff and members to preserve and enrich community by enjoying the extraordinary offerings of our amazing facility.
Of course, we all anxiously anticipate the re-opening of Il Centro!