CV’s Longest-Running Mentor

Helping Kids for 40 Years

In 1977, twenty-six-year-old Lou Codella showed up at CV and asked if he could help the children. In his quiet way, he became a presence in the children’s lives, someone they knew they could count on.

Forty years later, he is still helping kids and has no plans to slow down. Lou attends chapel with the kids every Sunday, drives them to Young Life sleepaway camp every summer, takes them to a homeless shelter to serve Thanksgiving dinner every year, and visits every Christmas Day. The recurring theme is “every.”

All our children have known loss and abandonment, and Lou knows that if he promises something, he must deliver. And he does.

On May 10, staff, former colleagues, family members, and “Lou’s kids” gathered to honor this special anniversary with a service and reception at the chapel. Reverend Holby, who has worked with Lou for the full 40 years, led the service. Many of the guests in attendance spoke about Lou, sharing stories and offering heartfelt appreciation for his work.

The best way to describe the feeling of the event and what Lou means to the boys is to share some of their heartfelt comments:

Luis: “He made me see a brighter future. Helped me get back on my feet.”

Hasani: “I never had a father figure, but Lou became that for me. His constant efforts made me want to change my life.”

Anthony: “Growing up in foster care, there are not many adults who invest themselves in the life of a child. Lou did.”

Vincent: “Lou is one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

Malik: “Lou filled a big hole in my life. Like a stepfather.”

One of the boys’ mothers added her thanks: “Words could not express what you have done for our kids. You don’t judge them.”

Lou ended the celebration in his typically quiet style, protesting, “I always get back more than I give. The best thing I can give these boys is my presence.”

Thank you, Lou, and every one of our volunteers who are so special to our children and teens.

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