Meet The Lesbian Social
Network (LSN) Facilitation Team!
Names & Pronouns:
Joann Prinzivalli (her/she because she loves chocolate!)
Donna Sodaro (she/her)
J Cruz (she/her)
Lex Suozzi (she/her)
Paulette Madianitti (she/her)
Where did you grow up/Where do you live now?
Joann Prinzivalli Joann was born in Brooklyn and moved to Staten Island as a child with her parents. She moved to Westchester as an adult, eventually finding a home in White Plains.
Donna Sodaro Donna was born in Bayside Queens, then moved to Brooklyn. Donna now lives in White Plains and has been here for 21 years.
J Cruz J grew up in Yonkers, lives in Yonkers and works in Yonkers!
Lex Suozzi Lex grew up in Stamford, CT and now lives in Riverside, CT. Closer to Westchester!
Paulette Madianitti Paulette grew up in the Morris Park Ave and Arthur Ave sections of the Bronx. She currently lives in Scarsdale, NY.
Joann Prinzivalli Joann is an advocate for social justice and enjoys being a gadfly speaking truth to power on social media. She also likes to play the guitar, and once played bass for a local lesbian band called Purple Rose.
Donna Sodaro Hiking, traveling, reading and games on her phone.
J Cruz Swimming, any moment she can!
Lex Suozzi Lex enjoys taking street photography. She is also a dog enthusiast, and says she likes to cook her grandmother's recipies by adding her own twist to each!
Paulette Madianitti Paulette loves going to the movies, museums, reading, shopping, and going to the pool or beach in the summer. She loves to play basketball and other sports, and even used to coach a middle school basketball team and enjoyed participating in all different sports such as softball, volleyball, swimming, etc.
Why volunteer at The LOFT?
Joann Prinzivalli Joann has been involved with The LOFT for many years. During that time, she founded the Trans Peer Support Group and joined LSN, which back then was called the Women's Rap Group. Joann has been a member of LSN before it became LSN!
Donna Sodaro The LOFT has been like a second home from the minute Donna walked through the doors. She felt accepted and understood and wants others to feel that way when they enter LOFT group spaces like LSN.
J Cruz It sort of just came up and it’s turned into being able to be there for other people. To hold their stuff in the moment in the group. Not just in LSN, but J is also a part of the Grief and Loss Discussion and Support Group. She likes volunteering because “you are able to be there for other people” she says. It started out with Donna and J, and since then it’s become fun in a way and interesting.
Lex Suozzi Since she started coming to The LOFT, she found it to feel like home and there was no other choice for Lex but to volunteer with The LOFT.
Paulette Madianitti Paulette enjoys volunteering with The LOFT because it allows her to give back, by helping to build a better community. It also provides Paulette with a sense of belonging, purpose and expands her support system. Most importantly The LOFT makes her feel at home and she is honored to be able to provide support with other people in the community, who might be experiencing challenges.
What has your volunteering experience been like at The LOFT?
Joann Prinzivalli Joann says it’s had its highs and lows. Early on, she was barred from the women’s rap group, but volunteered for The LOFT’s Helpline, at the same time the women’s group was meeting. She did this so she could be seen by and interact with the women, many of whom did not previously know any trans people, and show them by getting to know her outside the group, that trans women are deserving of being a part of that group. Many of the women approached her with positive reassurance, and by 2005, the group leaders told her that she (and other trans women) was welcome to join the women’s group. In 2007, a friend of Joann’s was on the board and came to her to ask if the Trans group, once only allowed as a "group that meets The LOFT" could become a part of the LOFT peer support network. After a while, when the Trans group had grown, with new leadership emerging, Joann stepped down from facilitating the Trans Peer Support Group. In addition to being one of the facilitators for LSN, Joann also facilitates the 55+ Group.
Donna Sodaro Donna has met so many wonderful people, and made some great friends. I’ve felt a sense of pride in my community. During the pandemic where we’re all stuck in the house. J and Donna first started facilitating together, and LSN has become a family now.
J Cruz It’s been interesting and a learning and growing experience. J says one learns how to be there for other people. And you can get your fulfillment from that without expecting anything in return.
Lex Suozzi It has been a wonderful experience, because she found her second family and second home, and loves every minute of it!
Paulette Madianitti Her experience has been wonderful and she enjoys participating in the Friday night LSN group, as well as volunteering with other in person events. She has made so many friends and those friends have become her chosen family. She loves the fact that she is able to gather in a safe and comfortable environment with everyone. Discuss issues relevant in the community, where the goal is to simply connect with others. Conducting a group via Zoom has allowed her to meet people who live in other states, as well as other countries, which has truly been a fulfilling experience.
Is there anything you would say to future volunteers?
Joann Prinzivalli “What we do here is good for the community, and it’s good for us. It brings us together and allows us to uplift each other. Among the things we do are Educate, Advocate, and, at times when we feel oppressed and society is crashing down, it’s also important for us to Celebrate who we are and how far we have come!
Donna Sodaro Experience is wonderful and very rewarding.
J Cruz Be patient. Listen. Be there for other people.
Lex Suozzi Enjoy it, and to embrace every minute of it and be thankful for it because future volunteers may not be going through COVID which we have gotten through and will be able to be at The LOFT in person again.
Paulette Madianitti Participating in volunteering with The LOFT is one of the most fulfilling ways to help the LGBTQ+ community grow and thrive. It allows you to be a part of something great and gives you a sense of pride and purpose.
Would you rather vacation on the mountains or near a beach?
Joann Prinzivalli “Personally, I’d rather go to Epcot at Disney World!” said Joann. She says The World Showcase is like being able to go to foreign countries without leaving the country!
Donna Sodaro Donna loves going to the beach.
J Cruz J said the Beach, because she likes to swim.
Lex Suozzi Lex said the Beach by far!
Paulette Madianitti “That’s easy!” Paulette loves both but would say she is more of a beach person. “Being around water is my happy place, and puts me in a meditative state.” Growing up, her family was always taking them to the beach and we had a summer home in Jersey which was a block away from the beach. You could say Paulette was conditioned to love the ocean.
Favorite Book/TV Show?
Joann Prinzivalli “Eunuchs For The Kingdom of Heaven” by Uta Ranke Heinemann is one of her favorite books. Her favorite movie is a tie between “Back to the Future” (1985) and "2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968).
Donna Sodaro Donna's favorite movie is “Saturday Night Fever” (1977)
J Cruz J’s favorite movie is “The Wedding Singer" (1998)
Lex Suozzi Right now, Lex is watching "The Handmaid's Tale," and she would say it's her favorite TV show, but she's enjoying it at the moment.
Paulette Madianitti Paulette's favorite books are Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Under The Tuscan Sun by Francis Mayes. They are both love stories that show the beauty of Italy and explore Italian culture. Paulette also likes to watch, “The L Word” (2004), “Greys Anatomy” (2005), “The Good Doctor” (2017), “The Crown” (2016), “The Gilded Age” (2022) and “Bridgerton” (2020).
Joann Prinzivalli Joanns favorite color is lavender because it is one of those colors that she wasn't allowed to like as a child.
Donna Sodaro Turquoise, because it's the color of the Caribbean.
J Cruz J likes blue because it is a soft color and feels calming.
Lex Suozzi Lex's favorite color is indigo blue, because it's the color of the sky at night.
Paulette Madianitti Turquoise because it feels tranquil, calming, it reminds her of the ocean and sky.
Do You Have a Motto or Any Words To Live By?
Joann Prinzivalli “During my journey here on earth, my goal is to do my best to make the world a better place than it was when I arrived. While the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, it does not bend by itself. It takes the work of many people of good will to help shape it towards justice.”.
Donna Sodaro "Live and let live!" and "One day at a time".
J Cruz J’s motto is to “stay focused on the goal, whatever the goal is.”
Lex Suozzi Lex lives by the motto, "It is what it is".
Paulette Madianitti One phrase Paulette lives by is, “Before you love others, you need to love yourself” and another quote by Elenor Roosevelt, “I did the thing I must not do, which in turn became my ticket to freedom. Not only freedom from a stale marriage, but freedom to sound my own horn, to explore my passion and sexuality, and to finally become the person I was hesitant and afraid to become. To become powerful".