Senior Vice President, public relations and special events for PNC Bank to the show.
August 25, 2015 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Joyce welcomes Andrea J. Carelli, senior vice president, public relations and special events for PNC Bank to the show. She will discuss PNC’s programs and services and its commitment to employing people with disabilities as well as its efforts to give back to the community it serves.

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FINISHED TRANSCRIPT

AUGUST 25, 2015

1:00 P.M. CST

BENDER CONSULTING SERVICES

"DISABILITY MATTERS" WITH JOYCE BENDER

 

 

 

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This text is being provided in a rough‑draft Format.  Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) or captioning are provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.

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>> Welcome to "Disability Matters" with your host, Joyce Bender.  All comments, views and opinions expressed on this show are solely those of the host, guest and callers.  Now the host of "Disability Matters," here is Joyce Bender.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Hey, everyone!  Welcome to the show.  Hope you are all having a great day.  And we continue on celebrating this year the 25th anniversary of the signing of the great Americans with Disabilities Act.

Before I start, a special shout out to my friend Yoshiko Dart.  And if you don't know Yoshiko, you are missing out.  A great hero passed away several years ago, Justin Dart, really known as the general of the ADA; so well‑loved, so highly thought of.  And guess what?  Yoshiko is carrying on that spirit and that dream.  Yoshiko, I know you are listening to every show, love you, we love you, keep on leading on.  Speaking of leading on, our guest today is one of my favorite new friends.

As you all know, we have had Senator Harkin on, the Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez.  But you know, every so often, I have to have a Pittsburgh company or a Pittsburgh executive, because this is my hometown and I love Pittsburgh.

This woman, she is Pittsburgh.  She is.  She is a champion for the community.  She has incredible passion.  She is at an executive level of one of the great organizations, PNC Bank, home of PNC Pirates, my favorites.  Welcome to the show, Andrea Carelli.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Thank you, Joyce.  What a lovely introduction.  I hope I can live up to your words.  (overlapping speakers).

>> JOYCE BENDER: You are already living up to my words.  Here is how I would describe Andrea Carelli:  Fireball.  That is how I describe her; but, a very wonderful, loving firewall.  She is just, I can't speak highly enough of her.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Thank you.  I feel the same about you.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Love you, Andrea.  My guests are going to love you.  I think we will start, if you don't mind telling everyone, what you do at PNC.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Sure.  I'm senior vice‑president of client and community relations, and I have a fabulous job with a great company.  I work directly for the president of the bank, and I've actually been here for about 28 years.  On a day‑to‑day basis I'm considered the president's chief of staff.  He relies on me for almost everything that affects our customers, employees and the shareholders in the Pittsburgh market.

I manage all the internal and external communication for nearly 8,000 employees in Pittsburgh.  I also oversee all marketing and community relations in our market.  One of the really cool aspects of my job is that I get a chance to handle all the sports contracts in Pittsburgh, so as the official bank of the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, I get a chance to interact with the front office staff of these organizations, and we have wonderful partnerships.  And one of the great things in my professional life is that I helped to be a part of the team that created and designed PNC Park.

Joyce, you mentioned that at the top of the show, and I appreciate it.  It really is one of the greatest baseball parks in America.  We are so proud of it.

>> JOYCE BENDER: It is.  It is, I know, my listeners know, I am a passionate Pittsburgh Pirates fan.  I'm turning around, I see Roberto Clemente, I see Steve Blass, Bill Mazeroski all in my office on the wall.  I want to tell you about PNC Park.  Not only is it hands down the most beautiful park in the country, did you all know it's the most accessible?

I'm meaning captioning, and live open captioning.  I'm meaning chairs that move, if you are deaf and have an interpreter.  I'm meaning you have a, can plug in your charger for your wheelchair.  I mean, oh, and you can sit wherever you want.  It's not, okay, all people with disabilities over here.  It is just, if you haven't seen it, you have got to come to Pittsburgh and see PNC Park.

It is absolutely, you did a great job, Andrea.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Thank you.  And Joyce, I'm glad you mentioned it, because it was designed for people that had some challenges.  So it caters to everyone, and to your listeners out there, I invite you to come to our park and if you ever need any assistance, please call me or call Joyce and she can get in touch with me.  I will make sure that you have a wonderful experience at the ballpark.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Oh, that is so nice of you.  I'm not kidding.  You need to come and see this park.  You will love it.  Everyone will love it, but especially people with disabilities.

So, here we are, we are talking about PNC.  Here is my opinion about PNC:  Always giving back.  It doesn't matter, it just seems no matter what it is I always see the name, PNC.

It's always been like that.  It has always been a company that is committed to the community, that does a lot for the business community, and my question, Andrea:  What do you think has created this culture at the bank of giving back so generously, to not just working with the sports organizations, but giving back to the community, to the disadvantaged.  What would you say, what has created?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Joyce, PNC's bedrock philosophy has always been giving back to our community, and not just in a small way, but in a really big way.  I've been here, as I said, about 28 years.

Our culture really stems back from, beginning with our chairman.  I've had the pleasure of working with Jim Rohr, who recently retired, and my direct boss is Sy Holzer, but both those men are so committed to serving our community with donations, with sponsorship money, with volunteerism.

I'm on the board of the PNC Foundation.  On a monthly basis, we give away millions and millions each year, to ensure that our community remains strong.  Pittsburgh is a wonderful place.  And all of us need to remember that if we do business in this market, we need to take care of this market, meaning Pittsburgh.

We are one of the top three contributors to the United Way, and we do so much in sponsorship money and foundation grants.  But those organizations that we miss, we are able to capture with our large, large donations to the United Way.  PNC is also committed to early childhood education.

We created a program, actually under Jim Rohr's leadership a number of years ago called grow up great.  It's a $350 million initiative, that began in 2004, to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

Actually, today, I hate to brag, but I will, the program has served more than 2 million children, and we have given as I said millions of millions, and I get a chance to see the children that benefit from this program.  So it's really heartwarming, and as I say, PNC is a place that believes that, to be successful in our community, we really need to give back.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Who receives that fund for that program you are talking about?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: These are to prepare children from birth to age 5.  We adopt schools in the community.  We work very closely with Sesame Street, and the Fred Rogers group, to ensure that these children get books and teachers and learning aids, because statistics show, unfortunately, if children don't have a basic knowledge by the time they get to first grade, it doesn't serve them well in life.  So we are committed.

>> JOYCE BENDER: You know what, that is such a great thing you are doing.  It really is, because that is really where it starts.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Absolutely.  In our community, we have got to teach children in this progressive world to read, the basics, the basics of communication.  Without it, I don't have all the statistics in front of me, but they don't do well in school, no college, and unfortunately later in life there is a high rate of kids that just never succeed.

>> JOYCE BENDER: I want to mention something, when you were talking earlier about Jim Rohr, do you know he was just at the epilepsy walk a few weeks ago here at PNC Park, epilepsy, and as all my listeners know I'm living with epilepsy, so this is really something special to me, do you know he was there and he and his family made a generous donation to the Epilepsy Foundation.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: I believe it.

>> JOYCE BENDER: I was so excited he was there, that I called him up on stage with me.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Oh, that's great!  Jim is a unsung hero in this community.  One of the great things about my job is that I do get a chance to give away the bank's money, and Jim has always given me, I can't say total control, because there are committees and policies.  But if we couldn't do it as an organization, he would step up and write a personal check.

He really and truly has helped Pittsburgh become, or actually created the third renaissance.  Jim is near and dear to my heart.  I've worked with him for well over 25 years.  I can't say enough about the man he is.  He is just a generous person.

>> JOYCE BENDER: He is.  He is another example of Mr. Pittsburgh.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Yes, he is.

>> JOYCE BENDER: He is our Mr. Pittsburgh.  Okay, thanks, we are going to go to break and then we will be back.  This is Joyce Bender, America's voice where disability matters at VoiceAmerica.com.  Don't go away.  We will be right back with Andrea Carelli.

>> Streaming live, the leader in Internet talk radio, VoiceAmerica.com.

>> At Bender Consulting Services, Incorporated, our mission is to provide superior technology consulting services to our customers, while creating career opportunities, independence and freedom for people with disabilities.  While the demand for skilled technology professionals is reaching an all‑time high, over 13 million disabled Americans, many of them experts in technology, remain unemployed.  Since 1995, Bender Consulting Services, Incorporated has worked to solve these critical social and business issues by providing employers with reliable talent and giving individuals with disabilities the chance to display their talents and enhance their lives through solid careers.  If you are a person with a disability seeking employment, send us your resume' via E‑mail to resume@benderconsult.com.  For more information about our services, visit www.benderconsult.com in the U.S. and www.benderofcanada.com in Canada.  Bender Consulting Services, Incorporated, providing and creating employment opportunities, freedom and independence for people with disabilities.  WWW.benderconsult.com.

>> Hi, I'm Greg Grunberg from the TV show Heroes.  One of my personal heroes is my son who like more than 3 million Americans has epilepsy.  When someone with epilepsy is having a seizure, their brain is temporarily producing more electricity than their body can handle.  They can shake or stare or fall down.  They can also even briefly lose consciousness.  If you see someone having a seizure, please make sure they are comfortable and safe, and within a few minutes or less, the electrical overload will stop and they will be okay.  To learn more, visit epilepsyfoundation.org.  Thank you.

>> The Internet's number one talk station.

>> Number one talk station.

>> VoiceAmerica.com.

>> If you have a question or comment, call in toll free at 1‑866‑472‑5788.  Now please welcome back the host of   "Disability Matters," here is Joyce Bender.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Hey, welcome back, everyone.  If you just joined us, we are talking to Andrea Carelli, senior vice‑president and director of client and community relations at PNC Bank.

Okay, get ready, Andrea.  Get ready.  I'm going to talk about something that I know you love, I love and we both love this program so much, and by the way, everyone, this is how I first had the great pleasure of meeting Andrea.  I'm talking about the My Bike Program.  Andrea, how are we so lucky to get you involved?  And can you talk a little bit about the program, and what that's meant to you?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Sure.  First off and foremost, thank you for bringing up this wonderful program that helps so many children and families.

This program is near and dear to my heart.  I don't know how many of your listeners are familiar with the Variety Club, but Charlie LaVallee, the CEO, who calls himself the chief entertainment officer, was actually in my office about two years ago, and I had never met him before.  He came in to talk about PNC and if we would be involved with their Variety Club gala.

Of course, yes, we wanted to give back.  As he was leaving he mentioned a new program that they were trying to get off the ground, called My Bike.  My ears perked up.  No matter who busy we get in the day and I was busy that day, I said to my assistant, hold on a minute, I need ten more minutes with Charlie.

He started to describe a program that they were trying to get off the ground of providing children with disabilities an adaptive bike, so that they could actually ride a bike, have their own bike.  And I thought to myself, what a fabulous program!  Come on, when we were kids, I don't know about you, but riding my bike was one of the greatest adventures for me in the summer.  I would get on my bike for hours and I would go everywhere.  I'd ride until, in Pittsburgh we used to say the streetlights came on.  That is showing my age.

But anyway, Charlie was nervous that it might be hard to raise funds for these adaptive bikes.  They cost about $1,800 apiece.  They are custom‑made to fit the individual child.  But right then and there I said, Charlie, I'll tell you what, I will become involved, and when I do lend my time, I make it a passion of mine to make sure it's successful.

I said to him, I'm going to write you the first check to get the program started.  And I did.  He was incredulous.  I said, hey, don't worry about it.  We will make sure this succeeds.  At that time it was November.  We set a goal to raise about a hundred bikes so children could have them by Christmas.

Well, there is more to this story, and I doubt we have time to go into all the specifics.  But I'm really proud to say that we raised over 300 bikes in about six weeks.  That was two years ago.

The really great news is, we are now up to over 1200 bikes and counting.  What that means is, 1200 children who otherwise would have to sit on the front porch and watch their siblings and neighbors ride up and down the street, they get to do that now.  Like me, when I was a kid, it's hard to get these children off their bikes.

It has changed their lives in so, so many ways.  We get letters from families whenever we have bike presentations.  There is not a dry eye in the house.  You can't get these kids, rain or shine, they are out in the parking lot before they even put the bikes in their cars.

It is something that all of us involved feel, not only great about the fact that it's helping children and families, but it gives us a sense of satisfaction.  I do tell the story that I have a, I had a pink bike, and insisted that they create a pink color, and now it's one of the more popular colors and the girls just love it.

Like I say, it's, nothing is more rewarding than to see a child's face when he receives his bike for the very first time.  Charlie says to me, daily, how are you able to raise this money?  Believe me, I don't do it alone.  But when I see someone, I always say, do you remember your first bike?  That is an opening line.

I always walk away with a check.  We are so pleased with this program.  It's spreading not only in Pittsburgh but to the surrounding areas.  It's just a wonderful program.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Oh, my god, well, first of all, if you are listening to the show, do you see what one person can do?  One person.  This is the thing about Andrea.  Some people, they really, yeah, I want to help, but then some people really do.  You know, she had no reason to do this.  I'm sure Charlie, I know Charlie was shocked, shocked and thrilled.  But because of Andrea doing that, you know how she was talking about seeing the joy on this child's face, and the family.  I have been, here we have bikes, so you understand, that are accessible for children with disabilities, who normally would be unable to have a bike or ride a bike.

So, it is accessible, in all different fashions, according to the disability.  Well, I have been there.  When they, a child gets this bike and when I say beaming, I mean everyone else, crying, sister, brother, mother, father, I mean, a child with Down Syndrome or in a wheelchair, autism, I don't care what it is, just as Andrea said, you know, you remember when you got that bike.

I remember the horn I insisted on having.  You remember your bike.  But see, when you see kids playing outside, playing, riding their bike, but there you are, can't be included, oh, what a day of freedom when you can be.

Andrea, do you not agree, the family also has a huge reaction to this?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Oh, oh, without question.  Especially the siblings, of course the mother and the father are pleased as can be and happy, but the siblings, they now get a chance to ride their bikes with their brother or sister.  And it brings them closer.  The child that gets the bike feels as if he or she is not confined anymore.  It's the brothers and sisters that are so inspiring.  They are proud that their brother and sister can now come out and ride with them and play and not have to be on the porch or in the house playing a video game.

It shows, the statistics have also showed that these kids are now able to use a muscle group that maybe they haven't been able to use in the past because they are pedaling these bikes themselves.  Again, they are adaptive.  But these kids don't act like they have a disability.  They are out in front, with all the kids, and they are just so happy.  And they are kids for a while, you know?  They don't have to be in the hospital taking a test or whatever.  They are out in the sunshine with their brothers and sisters, with the other neighborhood kids.  And it's just such a rewarding experience to see these kids.

>> JOYCE BENDER: It is.  Just as you said, they have so many ways, but here, if you are listening to the show right now, listen, you can make a difference, because you can purchase a bike at variety of children's charities in Pittsburgh, P.A.  And you know what, even if you can only make a $10 contribution or $50 contribution, any contribution, you are helping us make a difference.

That is why sometimes what people do is, they will say, here is $10 for a helmet, or here is this for one of the pedals.  Every contribution that you make is important, everything.  There is no too little, am I right?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Absolutely.  We have a program called, Build a Bike.  It is exactly what you are saying, Joyce.  $25 gets a pedal.  $10 gets a seat.  I think $15 gets tires, or whatever amount.  It doesn't matter.  But that goes towards the Build a Bike Program.  That has been so successful, especially with children, because they collect money, and then bring it and they are so proud that they have helped build a bike for someone.

And it's just amazing.

>> JOYCE BENDER: That would be varietyPittsburgh.org, varietypittsburgh.org.  And, also on Facebook, if you go to Variety Childrens Charity of Pittsburgh on Facebook, you will be able to see some of those photographs.  I mean, the last story I'll tell about this is when I was at the gala we have every year, and we see many of the children on their bikes.

And this one little girl with Down Syndrome, Emily, came in on her bike with this huge smile on her face waving to the crowd as if she was Miss America, and going through a parade.  She was so thrilled, and wow, that really got to me.

But please, varietyPittsburgh.org, as Andrea told you, build a bike.  We did it right here at Bender actually several times now.  It is just so worth it.  It really is.  But right now, we are going to get ready to go to break.  We have been talking to Andrea Carelli, the senior vice‑president and director of client and community relations at PNC Bank, and truly a champion for children, as I just told you, at Variety Childrens Charity.  This is Joyce Bender, America's voice where disability matters at VoiceAmerica.com.  Don't go away.  We will be right back.

>> News, opinions, your voice counts.  Call toll free, 1‑866‑472‑5787.  VoiceAmerica.com.

>> Hi, I'm Greg Grunberg from the TV show Heroes.  One of my personal heroes is my son, who like more than 3 million Americans has epilepsy.  When someone with epilepsy is having a seizure, their brain is temporarily producing more electricity than the body can handle.  They can shake or stare or fall down.  They can also even briefly lose consciousness.  If you see someone having a seizure, please make sure they are comfortable and safe.  Within a few minutes or less the electrical overload will stop and they will be okay.  To learn more, visit epilepsyfoundation.org.  Thank you.

>> At Bender Consulting Services, Incorporated, our mission is to provide superior technology consulting services to our customers, while creating career opportunities, independence and freedom for people with disabilities.  While the demand for skilled technology professionals is reaching an all‑time high, over 13 million disabled Americans, many of them experts in technology, remain unemployed.  Since 1995, Bender Consulting Services, Incorporated has worked to solve these critical social and business issues by providing employers with reliable talent and giving individuals with disabilities a chance to display their talents and enhance their lives through solid careers.  If you are a person with a disability seeking employment, send us your resume' via E‑mail to resume@benderconsult.com.  For more information about our services, visit WWW.benderconsult.com in the U.S. and www.benderofcanada.com in Canada.  Bender Consulting Services, Incorporated, providing and creating employment opportunities, freedom and independence for people with disabilities, www.benderconsult.com.

>> The Internet's number one talk station.

>> Number one talk station.

>> VoiceAmerica.com.

>> If you have a question or comment, call in toll‑free at 1‑866‑472‑5788.  Now please welcome back the host of   "Disability Matters," here is Joyce Bender.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Hey, welcome back, everyone.

We are talking to Andrea Carelli, senior vice‑president and director of client and community relations at PNC Bank.

So, Andrea, look, we are already talking about all these great things you do for Variety, and there is so many other, I can't think of how many there would be.  But I know there is one group that you have a great passion for, and that would be the Women's Center and Shelter of Pittsburgh.  Just a few weeks ago, I had Shirl Regan on my show, the CEO, because I decided, wow, this is such an issue that I'm going to have the shelter and then I'm going to have Andrea on, because I have to tell you, I was absolutely mortified, horrified and shocked when I saw all the information, all the data that I just know very few people know how many women are victims of violence.  I know they are.

And so, anyway, do you want to talk about that a little bit?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Sure.

>> JOYCE BENDER: After that, why you think women possibly listening to the show today are afraid to seek help.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Sure, Joyce.  I know you know this, and I make no secret of it, I was in a very abusive marriage for 25 years.  The reason I stayed is, and I think a lot of women stay in abusive relationships, is because, and at least for me, I always tried to make him become the man I thought he could be.  And failure in my marriage was something I just couldn't comprehend.  I didn't realize or notice the warning signs, because, you know, speaking from experience, an abusive situation can grind you down emotionally.

I speak to groups all the time about this.  And there is a stigma that is I think associated with abused women, and people that are, or women that are in relationships that they might not even be married.  As a matter of fact, one of the things that I'm focusing my attention on right now is young women, young girls in school.  The number is alarming, that how many of these young teenagers are in abusive relationships.  And they are afraid or don't know how to get out of.

But when you are in an abusive situation, you start to believe that you aren't worth very much, because the abuser, to get control or power over you, will say, oh, you are not worth anything, or you're stupid.  You start to walk on eggshells in your own home.

One of the things I say to women is, look within yourself.  Do you feel that your relationship is healthy?  By healthy, I mean can you come and go as you please, talk to whoever you want, you are not afraid to come home at night for fear that his bad mood is going to spill over into violence.

I'm sure that Shirl mentioned the statistics, how many people are abused.  But especially for this show, women with disabilities make up a large group of abused women, because I know they don't have a place to turn to.  They don't know where.  Economics is another issue that is hard for many women.  When you finally decide, okay, I can't take it, I can't do it anymore and I'm going to leave, first thing is, where am I going to go?  He makes all the money.  He controls the checkbook.  You may have children.  They are going to have to leave their school district.  In my particular case, which is sad, although I didn't have children, he threatened me with my pets.  That is another area I'm getting involved in, because a lot of people don't want to leave because of their children or their pets.  And it's difficult, and I'm not going to pretend that there is a simple solution to it.

But the number one thing I always tell women, is talk to someone about it, be it a family member or someone at work or at your church, because it takes a bigger person than you to say, here is how to do it and I will help you move on, because you can't do it alone.

The Women's Center and Shelter for me, although I didn't use their services, I did contact them for advice, and it was the turning point in my life.  Again, after 25 years, I just couldn't take it anymore.

And I thank the blessed lord that I got out when I did, because I'm convinced that I wouldn't be here today.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Wow.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Yeah.

>> JOYCE BENDER: We are thinking then that, you know, I would have to say from everything I saw and read that if you don't finally decide to take action, you really could end up, I hate to say this, but dying.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Sure.  Look at, every day you turn on the news and you hear of this.  The other thing that, obviously, death is bad, but you are passing that legacy of violence on to the children that are seeing it.  It's all of a sudden, it becomes okay for them to hit their schoolmates, or as they get older, continue that cycle of violence.

So if you don't, if women don't leave for themselves, do it for your children.  Show them that it's not okay, in any situation, to hit another person.  I mean that for girls too.  Don't hit your spouse or your boyfriend or anybody, because they may just hit you back.  All of us should adhere to the fact that no one, no matter what the situation, deserves to be punched or kicked or choked.  It's not acceptable.

Unfortunately, for me, it took a long time until I finally got up the nerve to say, I'm done with this.  As I say, kids today, we have got to break this cycle of violence somehow.  So do it for children.  And that is what I tell a lot of women that come to hear me speak.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Let me ask you this question:  What was it that finally gave you the strength to do this?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: You know, the old expression, the straw that broke camel's back?  My husband had been to a Steelers game with my mother, I was at home in front of the fire, it was two days after Christmas, in front of the fireplace, with Christmas Carols playing and lights were on, and he came in drunk, and had had a fight with my mother, and put his fist in my face and said choose between me or your mother.

At that moment, I knew that it was never going to change with me.  It was always going to be one situation after another.  He would drink, come home, and find a reason to be abusive.  That was the straw that broke the camel's back actually, when he turned his back, I grabbed the keys, and ran out of the house, barefooted I might add, and went to my mother's house and I never went back, never.  I gave him everything, including all the clothes, my personal things, I never went back, because I had to make that break.  Believe me, he tried like crazy to get me back, and it was hard.  But I knew that my life was never going to change unless I took it upon myself to say, enough.

And that is my story.  It was difficult at first, but again, it was better in the long run.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Well, let me just say something about this.  I want to say that, if you would meet Andrea, which everyone should get to meet this wonderful woman, but if you would meet her, remember, senior vice‑president and so like confident and just so outgoing and you would never think this, never.  Never, never.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: I appreciate that.  One of the things I say to women, to groups that I speak with, at work, in my professional life, I am as tough as nails.  I stand toe to toe with chairmen, presidents and CEOs of companies.  I make major presentations.  I'm on TV.  I do speaking engagements.  You would never know it but when I got home, I was a different person, the minute I walked in that door.  He took control and made me feel like dirt.

The other thing is, it was always, did I do something wrong?  Are you mad at me?  It got to a point where I was on eggshells and you are right, and so a lot of times, you don't realize during the day how many women are actually being abused.  It takes, one in seven ‑‑ I'm sorry, it takes a woman seven times leaving before they will finally leave for good, because these guys have a way of, oh, I'm so sorry, I'll never do it again, and you want to believe they are the men that you thought they were.  As women, we want to succeed.  We don't want to fail.  We give every benefit of the doubt.

But I'm here to say, the very first punch, slap, kick, whatever it is, it's not going to be the last.  That I can guarantee you of.  Leave while you can.

>> JOYCE BENDER: If you are listening to the show, I want to say this, what she just said, one time, that's it.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: One time.

>> JOYCE BENDER: One time is enough, because guess what?  It won't be one time.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: No, it won't.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Once a person can do that, it won't be one time.  Am I right?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Absolutely.  Another statistic is, one in three women are abused.  I tell large groups of women, one in three, there might be 300 women listening to me.  Do the math.  There's a lot of women in this audience or your listeners that are experiencing this.  I hope by hearing my story, and it's difficult to tell my story, because I am a successful woman, but if I can help one person not experience the rest of their life feeling like they are less than a good wonderful mother or person, please get out, if not for you, but for your kids.

>> JOYCE BENDER: I'm telling you, Andrea Carelli, you know what, Andrea, you are a blessing from God.  You remind me of how people do not want to talk about the stigma of epilepsy as I talk about it or the stigma of other disabilities.  They are ashamed to tell anyone.  And you doing this, what greater thing could you do than save a life?  And that is what you are probably doing.

So, I mean, I just think it's, I just think you are wonderful.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: I thank you.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Andrea, you talked about briefly, about the Angel's Fund.  What is that?  What is the Angel's Fund?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: A number of years ago I decided to set up a fund at Christmas to help women who use the services of the Women's Center and Shelter.  Normally contributions that go to the shelter are used by administration for whatever, repairs, salaries, food, whatever they use it for.

But with the help of my hair salon, Azazu, these guys are great, I decided to set up a giving tree in their locations.  I'm so proud that it has been such a success for many years, and basically at the holidays, on the tree, like any giving tree, there will be, I have these really nice angels, and on the back of them it says, a personal item, whatever it might be.  But and as a result, we collect hundreds of personal items for the shelter.

But another thing that we have on the tree, and I get so excited talking about it, that is why I'm stuttering a little bit, but we ask them for donations as well.  We raised probably 20 to $25,000 in financial, to raise money for women to use whatever they need to make them feel better.

What that means is if they need a manicure, a haircut, take the kids to the latest movie, it's money that can be used in some small way that helps these women feel that they have control over their lives again, because one of the things when you are in an abusive situation is, you are stripped of control.

The abuser has controlled you for so many years, and so when you go to the shelter, which is, it's difficult, you are uprooting your children, you don't know where to turn, this money is used so that they can go to Barbara Nicholas who is the development director and say, hey, you know, my kids really want to see the new Batman movie but I have nothing, because like in my case, you leave with hardly anything.  I ran out in my bare feet.

Many times, these families are brought to the shelter by the police.  So they didn't have time to collect anything.  As women, we all know what a manicure or new haircut can do to lift our spirits.  That is what that money is for, and nothing else.  It's for, use it and for you and your kids to go out and do whatever you want to do, so that you feel like you are normal.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Wow.  I mean, that is just awesome.  That is awesome.  If you want to find out about that, you go to the women's center.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: And shelter.com.

>> JOYCE BENDER: You heard it.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: There is a tab that says Angel's Fund and that is what that is for.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Andrea, as you can see, by talking about all these great things, I believe Pittsburgh is a very very generous community.  I mean more than others.  I just believe it is a city where so many people want to give back.  I don't know.  Do you feel like that?  If so, why do you think that is?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Joyce, you are a hundred percent correct.  No matter where I go or who I meet, I run into someone from Pittsburgh.  This is a special town.  People will not only give their money but their time.  In some cases, if you ask, if a stranger asks for directions, people will actually take them to where they need to go.  And I know that from experience, because I drove somebody to the airport one time, when they couldn't find a cab.

But I'm on the board of the visit Pittsburgh and everyone says the same thing when they come to Pittsburgh.  They can't believe how friendly and helpful our community is.

When I think of, even our foundations, we give ‑‑ I'm not sure if your listeners realize but we have a number of generous foundations in our community.  They help in so many different ways.  I'm also involved in the turkey fund.  I don't know if your listeners are aware of that.  At Thanksgiving, $15 will buy a family a hot Thanksgiving meal.

Every year, our records, we break records on that, because we do just a couple of promotions, and this has been going on for a number of years, but people earmark in their budget money to make sure that they can give to the turkey fund or whatever else is out there at the holiday time.  It is just amazing.

I also ring the bell for the Salvation Army under what is known as costman's clock and my friend and I have done that for the last 15 years.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Wow.  When do you do that?  You have to tell me.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: It's Christmas Eve, the last shift on Christmas Eve.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Are you kidding?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: I'm not kidding you.  I'll tell you the truth.  The people that give, they might put in a dollar or 50 cents, but they also say the same thing.  The Salvation Army was there to help me when I needed it.  Little kids come up and put in a couple of dollars and say that they saved for this purpose only out of their lunch money or whatever.

I see little kids, and I think that's the great thing about our community, is it's a legacy that we passed on of giving and supporting one another in this town.  People will say, my grandmother told me about how they held, or my family, we take a collection up instead of buying each other gifts.

It is just amazing.  These little kids come up and they are so proud to help somebody.  I mean it's just a community unlike any I've ever seen before.  On Christmas Eve, that last bucket when they pick it up, it's always filled to the brim.  That starts my holiday season, actually.  I feel good about it.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Yes.  You know what, my father is 90 years old, and when he was in World War II, and he had nothing, and he saw this place with lights on, and said I wonder what that is, and he went in, and they said, come on in, sailor.  We will give you something to eat.  He said, I'm sorry, I don't have money.  They said, what do you mean?  This is free.  And it was the Salvation Army.  From that day on, my dad tells me that story all the time.  And he is 90 now.  I do have a special place in my heart for the Salvation Army.  But there ya go.  Your point, everyone in Pittsburgh is like this.

You know what?  Do you have any idea why?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Why they are so generous?  Because it's been passed on from generation to generation, because Pittsburgh in the early days, it was a tough town.  There were a lot of immigrants here in the city.  As you know, Joyce, we still have pockets of them from Polish hill to little Italy.  I think that number one, people if they leave Pittsburgh ultimately come back, because it's such a wonderful and caring community.  I do believe that it's passed on from generation to generation.  That is just part of the fabric of who we are.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Um‑hmm.  Yeah.  I agree with you.

Well, look, you do so many great things, that I just know someone, somewhere, had to have an impact on you.  So who is that?  Who would you say is your role model?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Well, from an early age, my grandmother, god bless her soul instilled in me a deep faith in God and a servant's heart.  She told me when I was little and it stuck with me, that Christianity is an attitude.  We have all these denominations and whatever that is.  But it's an attitude.  It is how we approach life every day.

Growing up, she would tell me stories that always ended with, the moral of the story was being true to God and to my faith.  As a matter of fact, my sister and I were going to make a childrens book up about it, because she just made these up, but we never got a chance to do it.  But she epitomizes to me Christian charity.

In fact, I live by a saying that was on her wall until the day she died.  She got it from Mother Teresa, and if you have a second, I'll say it quickly.  People are often unreasonable, irrational and self‑centered.  Forgive them anyway.  If you are kind, people may accuse of you of selfish motives.  Be kind anyway.  If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.  What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.  The good you do today might be forgotten tomorrow.  Do good anyway.  Give the best you have.  It will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.  In the final analysis it's between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Wow.  That is so good!

>> ANDREA CARELLI: In this world, people think you are doing stuff for praise or to be on radio shows or to get awards.  No.  That is not what it's about.

It says it right in those simple words.  It's about you and God.  It is not about what people think of you.

>> JOYCE BENDER: That's right.  You are not going to face them.  You are going to face him.  I agree with you.  I'm totally with you on that, Andrea.

Of course, I'm not surprised that this show went so fast, but it is almost to the end.  So, I have to ask you, Andrea, if you had one thing you could say was your greatest accomplishment, what would you consider that to be?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Well, once again I'm going to go back to my grandmother.  When I was a kid, and of course, as I moved through my life, the bible was always very important to us.  She stressed to me one time, as a kid I was always wide‑eyed and she read the passage from Hebrews and Jesus said, never pass by anyone who needs your help.  They just might be angels in disguise.

>> JOYCE BENDER: One of my favorite verses.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Yes.  I see people, and even though I'm super busy and they need a handout or whatever, I think to myself, stop.  Our community not only might be better for helping this person, but it might just be an angel in disguise.

So that, I hope, is my greatest accomplishment, that I'm sure I've passed by somebody, but I've tried very hard to always stop and say, hey, how can I help?  I hope that when I face my lord and savior, he says to me, well‑done, good and faithful servant.  I'm hoping he says that, but if he really knew me, he might say what were you thinking?

>> JOYCE BENDER: Knowing that I know you, I'm sure he will say that.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: I appreciate that.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Andrea, what message would you like to leave with our listeners today?

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Simple, my message would be to help one another, to take care of each other.  Get involved, no matter whether they are young or old or in between.  All of us have the power and possess the ability to help somebody.  Does it have to always be financial?  Of course not.  But when you see somebody in need, please help them.

I know when I speak to a lot of groups, I say to, especially to women, give up the pedicure or a manicure or, you know that purse you are carrying, that might be $200, give that money, set it aside, just one month for somebody in need, be it the Angel's Fund or the Build a Bike Program, nickels and dimes add up.  So I think that at the end of the day, when we lay our head on the pillow, we can say, I helped somebody today.  And boy, do I feel good.

I think that's what I'd like to leave with our listeners today.  Help one another.  We all need to take care of each other in this crazy world.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Yeah, because you never know.  It could be you is the person that needs help some day.  You just never know.  Wow.  If everyone would listen to this, wouldn't it be a great day?  Andrea Carelli, I cannot thank you enough for not only joining us, but for everything that you do.

>> ANDREA CARELLI: Thank you, Joyce.  But you do an awful lot too.  I'm very proud to be your friend, and as I say, I just want to hope that we can continue to do good things in this community, and again I'm honored to be on your show.  So thanks for asking me.

>> JOYCE BENDER: Absolutely.  We close the show with a quote.  Today, that quote is, and does it fit Andrea Carelli:  A person who is successful has simply formed the habit of doing things that unsuccessful people will not do.

This is Joyce Bender, America's voice where disability matters at VoiceAmerica.com.  Hey, talk to you next week.

>> VoiceAmerica would like to thank you for tuning in.  Please join us next Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. Pacific time for another installment of "Disability Matters" right here on the Internet leader in talk radio, VoiceAmerica.com.

>> Thanks again for listening to the preceding program brought to you on the VoiceAmerica variety channel.  For more information about our network and to check out additional show hosts and topics of interest, please visit VoiceAmerica variety.com.  The VoiceAmerica top radio network is the worldwide leader in live Internet talk radio.  Visit VoiceAmerica.com.  The voice and ideas expressed on the preceding program are strictly those of the host or guests and do not necessarily reflects the views and ideas held by the VoiceAmerica talk radio network, its staff and management.

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