Somerville News Weekly Special Person Of The Week Joanne Riviecco  

By Frank Santangelo 

Joanne Riviecco was born and raised in Cambridge. She moved to Somerville in 1983 to buy her first home. Her children were young, Franke 6 and Patrick 3 . 

Joanne’s community involvement started around 1989 when she was asked to be Secretary of Somerville Pop Warner. She accepted and stayed for in that position for eleven years. 

The children and helping others always was her 1st priority . On to parent football support groups at SHS and Matignon … Joanne became an avid football fan, between Pop Warner and the high schools she attended 1w0 games a week. 

Her son Franke had a motorcycle accident when he was 21 years of age as well as fought an addiction for over ten yrs.

Joanne tried so hard to get her son help but he passed away before she could find the right program for him. 

Later Joanne decided to be a voice and talk about his struggle and she knew the her son Franke would be proud of her for doing so. 

Joanne’s son own stigma made him a recluse. He died alone. He overdosed during the night. He was always afraid he would lose his job but instead he lost his life. 

Joanne struggled for over a year over his passing and she was so devastated over the tragic loss.

She started looking for a way to make a difference then later  spoke at the statehouse and many other places about him and her family’s life and the twenty years of addiction . 

Joanne Riviecco is a co-founder of Somerville Overcoming Addiction , and recently became a recovery coach and frequently attends Public Health meetings at City Hall. 

She never thought that she would be a community activist but she cared enough about people using and their families and wanted them to know that they are not alone . 

Recovery is possible. Stigma is huge so many may not ask for help , so she has a column here in this very newspaper every week with services that are available and started a bi-monthly show on Mondays with interviews and resource tables at SCAT on the Somerville Line . 

Joanne Riviecco wants all to realize that “You matter, and our loved ones that have past mattered.” She also stated that “She does this because it is rewarding and it helps her heal and that she believes in Recovery and you!”

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