This, that, and the other things
In my travels around town, I eat amazing food, meet fascinating people, and visit businesses and organizations that make our community unique. When I happen upon something new, I love to share these discoveries with our readers in the ShoutOut of Bedford Magazine. For this holiday issue, I sought out locals who are paying it forward--doing something to help others in need. Here are my ShoutOuts to six local organizations who live that holiday spirit year-round.
Helping Hands: For the past decade, the Local Heroes in grades 1-5 at Pound Ridge Elementary School have dedicated one afternoon each week to helping others. This semester, they’ve been focusing on “creating kindness through creatures” by making healthy dog treats, raising funds, and gathering supplies forfoster pets, as well as by learning about how service pets help humans. In previous years, the group focused on themes such as building relationships with local senior citizens and caring for the environment. prespta.com/pride.html
FaVoRS (Family Volunteer & Recreation Sundays) is a group of local families that coordinates monthly volunteer events for Sunday afternoons. Each family leads one event while the others are invited to attend, complete the project, spend time with their family and friends, and have fun. Recent events included making goody bags for the Ronald McDonald House, decorating thank you cards for First Responders, playing BINGO at a retirement home, and making get well cards for patients at NWH. email@example.com
When a book club in Katonah read Half the Sky which profiles resilient women living in perilous situations in developing countries, they immediately thought “If these women could do so much despite overwhelming challenges, how can we not support them?” So, they launched KEEP: Katonah Education Exchange Program. They partnered with Kakenya Center for Excellence in Kenya where they currently underwrite the cost of educating the entire class of 2018. keepgirlsinschool.org
Family Reach Club at Fox Lane High School is the junior leadership program within the Family Reach Foundation, an organization that provides immediate financial relief to families in need who have a child with cancer. The club has raised over $300,000 in four years since its inception and has now spread to John Jay, Greeley, and Byram Hills high schools. The Club has aligned itself with Westchester’s Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. Its most successful fundraising event is its Reach for the Rainbow color run with over 500 runners, food trucks, local student entertainment, and lots of school spirit. familyreach.org
Katonah Bedford Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps has a Junior Corps program that welcomes high school students to complete training and serve at least one three-hour shift per week. The kids go on ambulance runs throughout the coverage area including neighborhoods, portions of I-684 and the Saw Mill Parkway, and the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. The junior members are taught not only how to use equipment but also how to handle uncomfortable situations. The adults are thrilled to have the energy that the junior members bring. “We love to see them blossom,” says one supervisor Jessica DeAlto. “They can be fearless.” kbhvac.org
Team Spirit: Every pre-season, the eighth-graders of John Jay Youth Football take their camaraderie off the field and share it with the kids at the Blythedale Children’s Hospital. They play video, board, and card games with the patients. “We wanted to show the boys how easy and important it is to help those who are less fortunate,” explains Nick Giardina, President of John Jay Youth Football. jjyf.org