Where are they now? Vito making the most of what life throws at him

ABOVE: Vito Valenzi working the livestream equipment in church.

Vito Valenzi, 24, was featured in the 2013 winter edition of “More Good News” when he was 15 years old. He’s learned over the last decade that life doesn’t always go according to plan, but you make the best of the hand you’re dealt.

How has your life evolved over the past nine years?

Throughout life we go through many changes; our life experiences take us down new paths and broaden our horizons. What we envisioned our future to be at an early age evolves as we mature, and we are then able to fine tune our strengths. For me, music production was always my passion. I have found an avenue where my love of music is weaved within my video production and photography field.

Back then you said your passion was music and singing, and you wanted to pursue a career in the music industry. Whatever became of that or have your interests changed?

Growing up I had a great love for singing; it was my go-to talent at all family events. I am sure my family heard each song a million times, but they were always the greatest audience! At that time, I also was interested in news media and commercial advertising. I decided to find a way to merge the two areas of interest, which brought me to my major in college of communications arts and digital filmmaking, the best of both worlds.

You have a degree in communication arts, work as a photo editor at Meyda Lighting, are the main videographer for our parish livestream and have produced video content for our parish YouTube channel. What is it about this business you like?

The ability to bring content to the masses in a creative and impactful way gives me an extremely accomplished feeling; keeping people informed and engaged is essential in this field. When you present a story, product or advertisement that is captivating, you hope it inspires conversation and interest in you piece. It is all about communicating your message and invoking action.

Our parish means a great deal to you. You have been a parishioner since birth and received all your sacraments here. Why does this parish mean so much to you?

St. Mary of Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament Parish is steeped in tradition. For me, a place of worship is where you derive your morals and values, and it shapes you as an individual. I find working on events and projects in your faith community is a meaningful part of life; serving and helping others is part of God’s plan. My parish has given me the necessary tools to navigate life through faith, hope and the love of others. These are gifts we are all born with; however, they must continue to be nurtured throughout life for them to be effective in your daily life.

Back in 2013 you said, “My faith has given me my moral compass in life.” You and your family have been faced with difficult challenges over the years. How has faith helped you to cope with them?

Yes, challenging it has been. My family has endured much loss in the past few years, as well as my dad losing a great part of his vision, which has been extraordinarily difficult. My faith gives me hope that each family member that has passed has found peace in the promise of eternal life. I find that when faced with difficult challenges in my family, my role as a son changes. I try to be the best support I can be — compassion and caring are such important parts of healing the soul. Without faith we are without hope. As for my dad, each day is a struggle, but I watch him persevere with great hope there will be a silver lining for him. That for me is faith.

You also said, “My mom has always been a great influence in my life.” What have you learned over the past nine years that helps you appreciate your mom even more?

It is hard to put into words how grateful I am to have my mother. She is my favorite person and my best friend. Throughout these nine years I have gone through some difficulties in my life, and my mom is always ready with words of encouragement and wisdom. I found out how strong and compassionate my mother is no matter what situation is presented to her. I have learned how empathetic and understanding she is toward people, going above and beyond just to make someone feel extra special when they feel like they’re not.

Her devotion to her faith and church has never wavered since she was a young girl in Catholic school and she inspires me every day to strengthen my relationship in God. Even when I feel discouraged or disheartened, she is always there to tell me, “God has a plan,” and somehow that always makes me feel better. I would be remiss to mention how she has sacrificed so much in her life for me to be successful and guide me down the right path in life. I would not be who I am today without the love and support from my mother and for that I will always be grateful.

Tradition seems to be very important to you. Why, and how do you hope to add to that tradition?

Both my parents grew up surrounded by family traditions. Tradition as defined in the dictionary are customs or beliefs handed down from generation to generation. The family unit thrived on celebrating life in its many forms years ago. Memories allow us to share those happy times with the next generation, and we learn that the greatest possession the generation before had was the gift of family. I find it my responsibility to learn from them to be able share this extraordinary history with my children someday. Traditions create a very warm and loving environment, and it certainly is one of the greatest gifts in my family.

When you were 15, your goal was being part of the music industry. Now at age 24, what do hope the future holds for you?

It is my hope to have a wife and children someday to share all that life offers, as well as a career in content creation that will allow me to leave an impact on the world.

Vito Nicolino Valenzi

Age: 24.

Employment: Photo editor at Meyda Tiffany Lighting.

Education: Graduate of Herkimer County Community College with a degree in communications arts with a concentration in digital filmmaking.

Family: Mother Jamie DeBella Valenzi and father Vaughn Valenzi

Career goal: Work in commercial advertising/content creation.

Things I like to do:  Photography, golf, physical fitness, antiquing and a member of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute.