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Pennies for Puerto Rico
Wednesday, February 07, 2018
When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in October, the island was left without power, faced food shortages, and poor water quality lead to disease and illness. Despite the aid that is being funneled to the island, many Puerto Rican families remain in dire situations. Students and staff at the F. Donald Myers Education Center wanted to do something to help support the hurricane stricken area. During the month of January they held a fundraiser called Pennies for Puerto Rico.
Jane Amorosi, a teacher and Mary Moyles, a teaching assistant in the Exceptional Learners Division spearheaded the fundraiser. Amorosi said she got the idea from her son, who works at the Schalmont Central School District, where they organized a “No Shave November” event.
At the Myers center, several men in the building volunteered to grow their beards for the month and then have them trimmed in one of three designated styles. Amorosi and students in the Exceptional Learners Division visited classrooms at the center to collect loose change on a weekly basis. There was one jar for each beard style. The style that brought in the most money by the end of the month was the mutton chops. ‘Save it or Shave it” was the catch phrase.
Moyles contacted Mike Rabbit of Main Street Barber in Mechanicville who said he was happy to volunteer his time, expertise and beard care products for the event. On February 5, Rabbit came to the center for the big shave reveal. Eight male staff members and one student in the CTE HVAC-R program went under the knife, so to speak. Onlookers paid $1 to watch, which brought the final total raised up to $576.71.
“I thought the shave would be a fun idea. It put a great twist on the fundraiser,” said Amorosi.
Once the students knew mutton chops was the selected style, they really wanted to see their favorite teachers wear that beard.
“I really think that is what helped us reach our goal.”
Even those students who are struggling themselves, wanted to donate and do their part.
The activity reinforced the social skills students in the Exceptional Learner Division work on regularly such a communicating appropriately, giving of their own time and demonstrating empathy and compassion for others.
“It was a great community effort,” said Amorosi. “It was heartwarming to see everyone across our programs become involved and support the people of Puerto Rico.”
Some of the men in the building say they will continue to wear their new modern style!
Amorosi will be working in conjuction with the New York State United Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers Operation Agua to assist those in need.
For additional information please visit https://www.aft.org/operation-agua