WILMINGTON – Domenica “Minnie” Proud has grown up with an intense interest in service to others, and her dedication has benefited several organizations over the years. The list includes the Kind to Kids Foundation, Runway for Research, the Norman Oliver Turkey Drive, Candlelighters and the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation.
Not only have the leaders and clients of those causes noticed and appreciated Proud’s work, but so has the Jefferson Awards Foundation. In April, Proud was recognized by the foundation for outstanding service by a young adult at its Salute to Service at the Baby Grand in Wilmington.
Proud is a senior at the Charter School of Wilmington and a member of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Wilmington, although she said she also attends nearby St. Ann’s Church. Her mother, Theresa Pileggi, is a teacher at St. Edmond’s Academy. Pileggi attended Ursuline Academy in the 1970s, and the school’s motto, “Serviam,” was transferred to her daughter.
“I’ve just had the values of service instilled in me since I was very young,” Proud said recently. “‘Serviam’ has been such an important thing growing up for me. Jefferson Council gave me such a great structure that I was really able to maximize on that. I was also able to find causes that I was passionate about.”
She said the two primary organizations she has served have been Kind to Kids and B+. Kind to Kids helps youngsters who are transitioning into foster care and may not be able to take many of their personal belongings with them. Kind to Kids provides items for the children through their blue duffel program.
“We build blue duffel bags. We put in there a coloring book, a blanket, a clean pillow, that kind of thing, so at least they have those comfort necessities for when they’re transitioning. So that was a cool experience for me because it really felt so great to be working with those kids directly and seeing the impact of the work,” she said.
She got involved with the B+ Foundation through Charterthon, an annual dance marathon held at her high school. This year, the event raised more than $84,000 for the foundation, which assists families of children with pediatric cancer and also helps fund research.
“Working with them has been my favorite experience all throughout high school,” she said.
Proud really likes how Joe McDonough, the founder of B+, “always makes it such a big mission to show us not only where the money’s going and telling us all about their research and keeping us up to date with what research is happening, but he also literally will share voicemails from families thanking him.”
McDonough started B+ after his son, Andrew, a freshman at Salesianum School, died at age 14 in 2007 from leukemia. The foundation’s name not only references his blood type, but his outlook on life.
Proud also volunteers at A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children, where she gets to meet some of the beneficiaries of the work of B+.
Her commitment to community service also played a role in the college she will attend. Proud will major in finance at Boston College, which also has a concentration in Management for Social Impact and the Public Good. It was a perfect fit.
“It was important for me to find a community that valued community service and valued giving back,” she said. “At BC, it’s such a big message there, it’s cut into the fabric of the institution.”
She thought about becoming a doctor specializing in pediatric cancer until she realized science was really not her thing. What she did discover at Charter was that she liked and was good at crunching numbers and raising money.
When not assembling duffel bags or raising money or awareness for a worthy endeavor, Proud enjoys the outdoors, traveling and spending time with her family. But service has been her main extracurricular activity, and she’s good with that.
“My volunteering has taken up so much of my high school, but in the best way possible. It’s been totally my primary commitment, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”