Gianna Bucaro, a first-year Butler student from Bloomingdale, Illinois, is the recipient of the 2022–2023 John Henry Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism in recognition of her commitment to disability rights, children’s health, and volunteerism.
Bucaro, an Exploratory major on Butler’s Pre-Pharmacy track, is recognized for her advocacy for people with disabilities. Bucaro is involved in multiple service organizations. Hear the Cheers Foundation, which raises money for children with hearing impairments to offset the cost of bilateral hearing aids, is particularly important to Bucaro as a student with a hearing impairment.
“Insurance does not cover the expensive costs of hearing aids, and if a hearing loss is not treated properly, then you can ultimately lose your hearing altogether,” Bucaro says. “Each hearing aid costs approximately $5,000 and must be replaced every four to five years. This hits so close to home for me, so I have started two fundraisers back home raising money for this foundation at both my middle school and high school.”
William Ervin, a member of the John Henry Weidner Foundation, recently remarked that students who win the Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism typically embark upon a lifelong journey of altruism beginning in their youth and continue their journey throughout college. This is particularly true for Bucaro, who still participates in community events in the Chicago area, such as Feed My Starving Children and Meals on Wheels.
Bucaro’s plan to pursue a career in pediatric pharmacy was inspired by an ethos of service to the community, particularly to children. As Bucaro wrote in her scholarship application, “When learning about all Butler has to offer and thinking about what I want to do, I chose a path where I felt I would be happiest and able to help others. I am very interested in becoming a pediatric pharmacist because of my love for helping others and children. I absolutely adore kids and always knew that, no matter what, I wanted to be in an environment that allowed me to be near and/or work with them. Now, I know pharmacists don’t necessarily work directly with children, but while studying to become a pediatric pharmacist, I’m hoping to work in a children’s hospital because I know myself well enough to know that I will go above and beyond to form my own bond with these kids.” Bucaro’s service activities and future career demonstrate her firm commitment to children’s health and disability rights.
The Student Sociology & Criminology Association annually selects the recipient of the John Henry Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism. The Weidner award is named for John Weidner, a Dutch citizen and Seventh Day Adventist who, during World War II, saved the lives of about 1,000 British and American downed airmen, Jews, Dutch, Belgians, and French fleeing Nazi persecution. Weidner was honored by five governments after the war and by the Holocaust Museum at its opening in 1993. After he died in Los Angeles in 1994, his widow, Naomi, started a foundation for honoring the altruistic spirit. Butler University’s chapter of the John Henry Weidner Foundation for Altruism is managed by the Student Sociology & Criminology Association and made possible through the continued generosity of the Weidner Foundation.