Avanti Group Background
In Chicago, the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans (JCCIA) has served as a congress for Chicagoland Italian American organizations since 1952.
They represent Italian American interests for the community. JCCIA also hosts events, provides educational resources, and provides scholarships.
One of the committee’s main goals is to assist young Italian Americans in connecting with their culture.
This is why they opened the Young Professionals Division, known as the Avanti Club.
This division is non-profit, volunteer-based, and is for up-and-coming young Italian professionals in the Chicagoland area. They hope to open up opportunities to the younger generation of Italians through networking and events.
The club accepts members between the ages of 18-35 years old.
This past Friday, December 16th, the Avanti Group had their most successful event to date.
The “Sinatra’s Christmas Party” was held at the new popular restaurant, Gino & Martys. Owner Gino Bartucci also is involved as an Executive Director for the Avanti Group and has been helping the Italian American community grow in Chicago for years.
Over 120 guests came dressed in their best attire to enjoy an open premium bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, and an interactive cannoli dessert station while listening to sounds by DJ Lorenzo.
Current members have been very happy to be a part of keeping their traditions alive in a fun way.
“The Avanti Group is a great time for everyone who’s apart of the Italian heritage to get together” said current member, Gianna Marsico, “and it’s nice seeing the younger generation keeping up with our Italian roots! It’s always a great time, and I leave meeting new people each event.”
I also spoke with the Secretary of the Avanti Group, Nicolette Lollino to ask her more about the mission of the group where she said, “It is so important for the younger generation Italian-American community to continue to support one another and celebrate our culture. It is easy to get lost in our day to day lives, and forget about our roots and where our families came from. The gatherings we host, especially the Sinatra’s Christmas party, are moments to remind ourselves of our community and keep our Italian culture alive.
Our guests were 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation Italians and even people of other ethnicities that just want to support and celebrate with us. My favorite thing about the events we host is when a guest tells me they met a new friend or a significant other, and that is a part of our goal – to create relationships that last a lifetime and have a damn good time!”
President Pasquale D. Gianni shared at the Installation of the Club that, “Avanti is a beautiful Italian word which means, forward. And that’s exactly what we are looking to do. Bring in young folks, get them excited, passionate about their heritage, because we have so many things to celebrate.”
The JCCIA and Avanti Group are looking forward to hosting similar events such as these and giving back to the community in any way they can.
Interested in joining? Visit the JCCIA website here.