Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect Long Island communities, SJC Long Island student-athlete Marlee Lopez Commisso’s mom lost both of her jobs.
With Cindy Lopez’s income stopped, the mother and daughter were unable this month to make their full rent payment on their one-bedroom apartment in Patchogue. That is, until Commisso became one of the recipients of the St. Joseph’s College COVID-19 Student Emergency Assistance Fund.
“I’m so happy and really grateful for this grant because we definitely really needed the money,” said Commisso, 20, a junior at SJC Long Island. “I found out about it at the perfect time because me and my mom were struggling to pay the rent, and this money helped us do that.”
While Commisso still works at a grocery store in West Islip, the 2017 Bay Shore High School graduate doesn’t earn enough money at her part-time job to support her and her mother. Because of this, Commisso, who runs cross country for SJC Long Island’s Golden Eagles, knew she had to apply for the fund when her coach told her about it.
“I want to say thank you so much to St. Joseph’s College and the donors who made this fund possible,” she said. “I’m sure they know they’re doing a great thing, but I don’t know if they know how much it means to people like me.”
This isn’t the first time Commisso’s felt thankful for the College and its donors.
“St. Joe’s has done a lot for me,” the computer information technology major and criminal justice minor said. “When I was in high school, they awarded me the Presidential Scholarship. That’s four years of free tuition. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the College listening to me and seeing my struggle. I’m so grateful for them.”
After graduating next May, Commisso hopes to continue her studies at St. Joseph’s College in the master’s program for forensics computing. She wishes to one day work in the field of crime prevention.