Growing up in Cicero, Illinois, Joe Severino experienced firsthand the strains divorce can put on a family. Estranged from his father for six years, Joe watched his mother struggle through two jobs to put food on the table for him and his three siblings. The family strain and neighborhood environment were tough. Joe was consistently bullied and beaten up until he got involved in boxing and learned to stick up for himself. Without his mother’s guidance at home, Joe found solace roaming the streets and was no stranger to trouble. He was even a victim of gun violence during a robbery. Eventually started to fight for the Chicago Golden Gloves. Through this excellent organization and dedicated mentorship, Joe turned his life around. Joe even reconnected with his father and realized how hard it was being raised by a single parent. Today, Joe is a strong advocate for keeping families together, and he is a strong supporter of youth mentorship and coaching. It is through his own personal experience that Joe started his children’s foundation in 2013.
Joe Severino is the founder of the Park Ridge Knights, a children’s foundation that he personally sponsors. After seeing a prejudice and failure in leadership around children, he started his foundation where leadership and community merge. Joe partners with professional sports figures to manage children sports teams and create young leaders. Both his students and the program have seen many great successes. His program allows children from all demographic and geographic areas the opportunity to have access to the best coaching, equipment, and guidance available. Parents who have the means are asked to contribute directly to the local children’s hospital in return for a great experience with the program. Any family that is unable to make a donation has no obligation to contribute. Joe does not collect any salary and he does not claim this foundation for tax purposes. 100% of this foundation goes directly to serving the children.
Joe also donated a year of complimentary hospitality services to Shriners Children’s Hospital in Chicago and continually contributes to St. Jude’s, Breast Cancer Awareness, Replace the Lace (Pediatric Cancer), local youth sports programs, and K-12 educational institutions.
The smartest way to determine any position and decide from a human perspective is by listening to both sides and determining what is best for everyone. Joe has the heart and passion to help people, and he comes from a family ethic of giving first and then looking to meet their own needs.
Read more about the Park Ridge Knights in an article from the Chicago Tribune.