Michael Bove – President and Founder of the St. Rosalia-ReginaPacis Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA),Secretary/Treasurer of Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association -Local 831, Board Member of the Columbia Association
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: The seed for the creation of the NIA wasplanted in Bove’s mind one fateful day in 1979. I opened the doorand there was this little guy dressed in black, he said. I saidcan I help you?’ The man complained that he couldn’t get anyparticipation from the community because of an unpopular localmonsignor. Although he was perplexed by his seemingly randomvisitor, Bove agreed to attend a meeting with several members ofthe community to discuss starting a community organization. It wasthere that Bove discovered that the man who had showed up uninvitedwas Monsignor Piombini, the same clergyman who he had said waskeeping the neighborhood residents from getting involved. Bove,astonished, couldn’t believe the poker face on his new friend.Together the two started NIA in 1981, but Bove had one majorcondition. I said I can’t volunteer to help [one type of]person, Bove recalled. I have to help all people. It can’t be onereligion or creed. And for the last 20 years, NIA has done justthat. We don’t say no if somebody needs something, Bove said.I’ve never said no to anybody.
JOB: Bove worked for the New York City Department of Sanitationfor 13 years, starting in 1973, eventually ending up in theagency’s community service division, where he served as a communityliaison mainly for people he describes as newly arrived immigrantswho needed a friend. In his time in the community servicedivision, Bove helped start the recycling program on Staten Islandand even worked out an exchange between Russian locals who had toomuch furniture to get rid of and Cambodian immigrants who had nextto nothing. He remembers being impressed by the Cambodians’resourcefulness and degree of craftsmanship. They took this brokenfurniture and made it like it was brand new, Bove said.
PERSONAL: Bove has been married for nearly 40 years. He has fourchildren, all between the ages of 29 and 34: Michael, Pamela,Dennis and Leslie. A lifetime Bay Ridge resident, he says that at61 years of age, he has no interest in living anywhere else,especially when he is able to observe firsthand the positive effectNIA has had on several generations. Do you know how many peoplewho were children in our program and who are teachers, or have kidsthat are in our program now? he asked. It’s planting a seed.
INSPIRATION: Bove says that his main inspiration for choosinghis professional path came from his mother Louise Citriniti, whostarted the Bensonhurst Civic Association in 1965. He says he stillhas women come up and tell him how critical his mother’sorganization was in allowing them to achieve their own personalfinancial independence. She helped a lot of people in thecommunity, he said proudly. She put a lot of women to work at atime when women weren’t working.
PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: Bove is a deep believer in the power ofhelping others. He says that it is big part of who he is. I helppeople all day long because that’s what I do naturally, heexplained. He admits to always trying to tell others that the joyof helping others is in the act itself. When you’re willing togive, you meet so many more people. When people can’t find a job, Isay, Volunteer for a community organization, you’ll meetpeople.’