Ally Russo - Bio

Ally Russo
director - campus tour

“You make a difference. You are one person, but you made a difference to me.” That one comment made by a Special Olympics Athlete at one of our NTL events has influenced me to be more driven and motivated in things, like volunteer work, that I wouldn’t have been so devoted to before. Need to Lead has not only showed me the power of working together as a group, but also the potential and capacity you can have even as one person. I’m so lucky to have been introduced to this organization, because it really has helped shape who I am.

I began Need to Lead through my friend Billy Timson, and I couldn’t be more thankful to him for it. He had been part of the group already. Billy asked me to join him in the Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics. This was in my 8th grade year of 2009. At the time I was the only girl and I was pretty intimidated at first, but everyone was so welcoming and they treated me like I was part of the team before they even knew my name. I’ve been hooked on Need to Lead from there on out. Since then I have participated in several events: Alzheimer’s walks, fundraising golf tournaments, Hemophilia walks, Cradles to Crayons, and an Autism 5K this past spring at Duke University. The event at Duke University was one of the very first NTL Campus Tour events and the first NTL event I had organized on my own. I got a few friends to participate with me in a walk for Autism last semester, so this year I’m hoping to do multiple events and motivate more people to become involved. I couldn’t be more excited to have a leadership role in Need to Lead as Director of the Campus Tour. It’s so important to me and our members in college to carry on with volunteer work and continue representing Need to Lead. I’m honored that I am able to facilitate and promote this development. Currently I am studying Kinesiology at Elon University working towards becoming a physical therapist upon graduation.

The reasons I continue to dedicate my time to Need to Lead are both the effect I see it has on people and charities as well as the effect it has on me. For myself, it has gotten me to be so much more active in my community and gives me a higher sense of purpose and ambition. In other people I just see sheer, genuine appreciation as we come out to help so many great charities year after year. The feeling I get back from that is priceless.


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