COMMUNITY ACTIVISM: Anna Cali is a member of Community Board 12 and an active parish member of St. Athanasius, where she works in its youth program, in homeless outreach and as a Eucharistic minister. She is also the educational director of Mothers Love Pre-School, teaches at the Federation of Italian American Organizations after-school program and also teaches ESL classes to adults.
The changing face of her neighborhood has been a clarion cry for her. For that reason, Cali helped to found the Neighbors for the Preservation and Development of Southwest Brooklyn, which she says, is mainly to just to give back to the community.
I just feel like its important to stand up for whats right, Cali stressed. After seeing all these buildings go up and not everyone following the zoning laws it was something that bothered me. Older people have lived in their homes for many years and dont have an idea how to fight. Something is wrong and has to be fixed.
FAMILY LIFE: Cali grew up at 70th Street and Thirteenth Avenue in Dyker Heights. She moved to the Bensonhurst/Boro Park area when she married her husband 24 years ago. Cali has a 19-year-old daughter who attends the Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College and a 15-year-old son who is a student at Xaverian High School.
I feel like I raised two really great kids that go to church on Sundays, Cali said. I think thats the most important part of my job. I really hope they go on in the future doing really great things.
GIVING BACK: Cali graduated with a degree in finance from Pace University in 1987. After working in the World Trade Center for four years, she decided she wanted to do something more rewarding, so she became a teacher.
As for the future, she said, I see myself continuing on the community board and continuing to make a difference in the neighborhood.