Ms. Mandy Ferrini is an incredible representation of the Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center’s (BEOC’s) mission of self-empowerment and lifelong learning. Ms. Ferrini was a single parent, coping with her son’s need for open-heart surgery, at the same time delaying her own reconstructive surgery from a serious work injury. She is a domestic violence survivor and an entrepreneur who lost her business due to arson. Through it all, Ms. Ferrini not only persevered but thrived.
Ms. Ferrini enrolled in the BEOC Dental Assistant Program when she was vulnerable and unsure about what her next steps would be. Despite the challenges of being a single parent, she successfully completed her academic program, earned her certification as a Dental Assistant, and accepted positions at Baker Victory Dental and WNY Dental. Her desire to continue to grow led to her enrolling at D’Youville College where she earned her BA degree in Sociology in 2014. In recognition of her achievements as a non-traditional student, she was selected to receive the “Older and Wiser Learner Award.”
In 2017, Ms. Ferrini earned a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Medaille College and was inducted into the American Counseling Association Honor Society. Upon graduation, she accepted a Marketing Specialist position at United HealthCare where she worked until the COVID-19 Pandemic forced her layoff from the company. Ms. Ferrini’s tenaciousness once again overshadowed this obstacle and she and a partner re-opened Pizza Bella & More, an iconic restaurant in the City of Buffalo’s Riverside neighborhood. While co-owning Pizza Bella & More, Ms. Ferrini supplied lunches to students learning remotely from the Charter School for Applied Technology, and purchased Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for neighborhood residents. In July 2020, Pizza Bella & More was the victim of an arson fire, but Ms. Ferrini and her partner forged ahead and opened another restaurant, in November 2020, re-naming it Bella’s Parkside Tavern.
Ms. Ferrini stated, “My life has a theme; every time I accomplish something from adversity, I need to accomplish more.”
Alumni Affairs and Student Development Office