Happy Birthday World Youth Alliance: Maria’s Musings


Some memories and advice from one of our long serving and dedicated staff members, Maria Grizzetti. 

1.What first attracted you to WYA? 

The mission of WYA was the first thing that made WYA attractive. To promote the dignity of the human person means addressing the problems young people face, the ethical issues, and the real needs persons around the world from a positive viewpoint. When we start with the dignity of the person, the result is a more humane approach to the issues we work on. We can then stand and truly say: ‘You are worth it!’

2. What is your favorite memory of working with WYA?

My favorite memories are those that surround WYA’s earliest beginnings. I met the World  Youth Alliance and Anna Halpine in the smoke-filled  hallways of the UN ( yes, you could smoke inside the UN basement then) in 2000 when WYA was an idea that some had committed to bring to life. At the time we had no money, no offices, no staff, but a lot of enthusiasm, hope, and the passion born of conviction. Fourteen years have passed, and since then I have participated in hundreds of events, seen significant generosity, and had the great privilege of building treasured friendships along the way. Individual memories are too many to specifically point out, but the beginnings of this work are a memory worth retelling over and over again.

3. What is the best thing about working with WYA?

The best think about working for WYA is the satisfaction that comes from the work itself. No service is without its recompense, and I have learned that leadership is about service and that leadership for the human person is a service of love and justice that has its own reward.

4. Why should people get involved with WYA?

People should get involved with World Youth Alliance because the dignity of the human person changes everything!

5. What’s your favorite past-time?

I love to study, especially languages, philosophy and the history of art. I love to experiment with heirloom foods and to cook. I enjoy travel, and photography is a hobby I pursue personally.

6. Any message for our WYA alumni?

Dear Friends, yes friends, as I know most of you personally,

I hope you cherish the memories you have of your time with the World Youth Alliance. It has been a privilege to work alongside you over these many years. How many talents, gifts, and what generosity you have put at the disposal of the great work of promoting the dignity of the human person! Thank you, first and foremost for all you have done to build WYA up! And stay close. We still need you! Perhaps, we need you now more than ever, as the fruits of your work bear fruit around the world. Your witness, and that of your families and careers, proves that each person is worth the unreserved gift of our selves. I look forward to continuing conversations, visits, and collaboration, and to cherishing the friendships we share!