In December the Amerigo Vespucci Society (AVS) of Long Branch donated Christmas-theme coloring books to two parochial schools. AVS board member Frank Devito funded the effort noted, “Christmas is a special time of the year; we wanted to give the local children something creative to take their minds off of Covid.”
The project was a collaborative effort as AVS board member Rob LaBella (owner and president of Jamm Printing http://www.jammprinting.com/ ) printed the coloring books, AVS President Joe Sirianni presented the books to St Jerome school in West Long Branch ( http://www.saintjeromeschool.org/sjs/), and AVS Vice President, Joe Mossa, presented the books to Mother Seton Academy in Howell (https://www.msaedu.org/ ).
The AVS takes its name from the famous 15th century Italian explorer and map maker. The AVS has a long history in Long Branch New Jersey dating back to its founding members in 1875 and incorporation in 1893. The organization was originally established as a mutual aid society where Italian men could congregate, escape from discrimination and anti-Italianism that began during the period of large-scale Italian immigration during the late 19th century. Since that time the society members have made it a priority to assist each other and their families when there was/is no other place to turn.
Today, the AVS continues to be a mutual aid society as well as a 501(c)3 organization assisting individuals and organizations in the community and providing educational scholarships. They are active in combating pervasive negative stereotyping and defamation of Italian Americans in the media and promote the extraordinary history and accomplishments of Italians and Italian-Americans. They also promote the admiration, general appreciation and love of Italy, its culture, society, arts and people. The AVS joins other local and national organizations in promoting Italophilia and combating anti-Italianism.