All People Are Beautiful

You truly can never judge a book by its cover, nor can you judge people by their outward appearance. This past weekend the Roma Wish joined together for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to assist the amazing Bowery Mission serving those in need.

A dozen of us spent a few days helping the Bowery Mission however we were needed. The amazing team included:

  • Eric Casillas, Business Product Specialist (Miami)
  • John Demkowicz, Business Product Specialist (Georgia/Alabama)
  • Jo Anne Garcia, Business Product Specialist (Southern California/Nevada/Arizona)
  • Mariann Gareri, Growth Coordinator
  • Melissa Gareri, Marketing Coordinator
  • Jonathan LaBrie, Production Team, HQ
  • Tania Santana, Western Regional Growth Leader
  • Jason Spalding, Culture and Talent Leader
  • Joey Talotta, Project Leader HQ
  • Natalie Trivino, Video Producer

It is events like this that you’re reminded how truly amazing your team is. I can’t quite put into words how grateful I was to have each of them with me in New York. I know our experience at The Bowery Mission was life changing for all of us.

The Bowery Mission’s history of helping the people of New York City is unduplicated. The mission has been serving homeless, hungry, and poor New Yorkers since 1879. For more than 135 years, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, 3 meals a day. The Bowery Mission runs on donations and the volunteers who have been doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. Volunteers like Rocco, who runs the kitchen on the weekends. A butcher by day, Rocco came in and taught the team tricks of his trade and has been able to impact hundreds of thousands of lives.

The Bowery Mission provides meals, shelter, and medical care, as well as residential programs that offer men and women the opportunity to transform their lives. It gives people second chances and offers new hope to neighbourhoods like Harlem and the South Bronx.

It is something that I was proud to be a part of, and proud to have our team be a part of. And although I try as much as possible not to judge people in life, my experience this weekend opened my eyes even further.

You get to know some of the folk who are running through the program. On first glance, it may be easy to assume their life, and judge them based on what they look like. But our team put this aside and went deeper to understand them as individuals, because all of their stories are beautiful. These people are all sons and daughters, parents, husbands and wives, or someone’s cherished friend – they are people, just like you and me. I too have a story, and they are no different from me, they just happen to be going through a difficult time. It’s a situation we could all suddenly find ourselves in.

It is easy to forget how fortunate we are. But we must never forget that there is someone equally less fortunate, and they are in need of that shelter. It is important to remember that we are all only circumstances away from needing the same assistance.

In the kitchen the poignant sign hangs, “Serve like you are serving a King,” and a general rule of thumb at the Bowery is if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t serve it. We ate what we served. And we served as if we were serving kings. These people do not deserve anything more or less than we do. In turn the people we served were very polite and often thanked us with humble gestures and warm smiles.


We are all people! We all have a story! Whatever has happened to you in this life, you are still a human being, and you deserve dignity and respect!

All people are beautiful and we all have a different story!  Similarly, all books are beautiful, they are simply written in different ways. And that was my key takeaway from this experience.

You can find more about the team’s experience here, and you can read about the Bowery Mission here.

Tony Gareri

CEO & Culture Enthusiast

Drawing from firsthand experiences, Tony addresses how a culture evolution can lead to improved business results and happier work environments.

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