Jean Colarusso was born in West Pittston, Pa. and grew up in a family that instilled religious values and community service. After graduating from Marywood College in 1957, she worked in the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital as a medical technologist. There she met her future husband and medical student, Cal Colarusso. The couple married in 1960.
In June of 1973 Jean moved to La Jolla, California from Philadelphia with her physician husband and their three children, Mike, Mary Ann and Tom.
In 1982 Anita Figueredo M.D., Jean Colarusso, and Mary Rupp founded Friends of the Poor. These women, driven by their passion for service and their frustration with poverty worked on and completed many projects among the poor communities in Mexico and San Diego.
In 2002, Jean made her first trip to Nigeria at the invitation of an African priest she had met in California four years earlier. Despite not wanting to get involved, she was immediately drawn to the kindness and warmth of the Nigerian people and recognized that they were suffering greatly and receiving no help.
Jean completed her 14th trip to Nigeria in January 2013.
- Jean Colarusso
"I didn't choose Nigeria. Nigeria chose me."