Bova, a lifelong resident whose great grandparents settled in Stamford from Italy in the 1800s, always enjoyed volunteering at school and church as a kid and enjoys being close to her family in the area. She also said Backyard Humanitarian allows her to keep doing what she loves.
“When you see us in action it is like we are one big family,” she said.
Backyard Humanitarian was founded three years ago by longtime American Cross volunteer Angela Malizia, who wanted to find a way to help the community.
Malizia reached out to Bova and other friends she thought might be interested in volunteer opportunities. Today, the grassroots organization has approximately 400 volunteers involved in various projects.
Bova’s very first project was working at its annual coat drive because she “just wanted to be involved,” she said.
This year, as team leader of the coat drive, Bova worked together with The Higgins Group, where she is a Realtor, and other local businesses to host drop off locations. Mario’s Cleaners contributed by preparing more than 900 coats, and shop space was provided by Inspirica of Stamford.
Bova has also participated in Hurricane Sandy relief efforts to collect donations for residents of New York whose homes were severely damaged, as well as joining in park clean ups, serving at area soup kitchens and partnering with local businesses to support various other causes.
Bova said everything she and all the volunteers do is in order to help people.
“We all do what we can, when we can,” she said. The organization is run entirely by unpaid volunteers, led by Malizia from a laptop computer.
“Angela always likes to help people. She is an incredible person who has changed my life,” Bova said.
In addition to volunteering, Bova is a fitness enthusiast and trainer and is co-owner of Body Strong, LLC with her husband, Paul. The couple also authored the book, “Body Strong Kettle Bell Blitz.”
Backyard Humanitarian is always looking for ways to connect with the community and posts regular website and Facebook page updates updates about current events and causes. Bova said those who want to suggest projects or volunteer can do so by email through the website.
“If it is something we can do, we will support it,” Bova said.
For more information, visit www.backyardhumanitarian.org.