A grass-roots initiative has succeeded in raising sufficient funds to fully restore summer educational and recreational programs in Mamaroneck for elementary and middle school students.
Cuts to the Coop Camp at Hommocks and Mamaroneck Avenue would have left 150 students in need of academic intervention with no summer program this year.
A group of parents whose children attend the camps appeared before the Mamaroneck School Board to plead for the program’s reinstatement. As a result, the board agreed to provide $35,000 if an additional $65,000 could be raised through donations.
To aid the effort, Mariana Boneo, the former executive director of the Hispanic Resource Center, teamed with Liz Liscio, a member of the HRC board, and Naomi Lowenthal, a member of the HRC Advisory Council.
They established the “Si Se Puede” (Yes We Can) Fund at the Hispanic Resource Center and quickly launched a fund raising effort. The first goal was $35,000 to restore the program at Hommocks, which serves 100 sixth, seventh and eighth graders. When that sum was reached, they set their sights on an additional $30,000 to reinstate the program for 50 campers at Mamaroneck Avenue School.
“We are happy to report that we have reached our goal of $65,000 and will be presenting a check to the district at the June 16 School Board meeting,” said Ms. Lowenthal.
School Board President Linnet Tse said, “We were very reluctant to cut Coop Camp from the budget and are thrilled that the generosity of the community has enabled us to restore Co-op Camp at both the elementary and middle school levels. As data from MAS shows, this summer program, which includes academic support as well as other enrichment, really does make a difference in student learning. “
“This effort accomplished three things,” added Superintendent Paul Fried. “First, it allowed excellent services to be restored for students who need to extend learning through the summer. Second, many young adults in our community will have jobs, allowing them to earn money as well as gain responsibility and skills from working with children. Finally, it was very gratifying to see a segment of our population that often doesn’t have a voice, come together to use their voice and that their goal was achieved.”
He added, “I have deep appreciation for the group that spearheaded this effort and how the community responded.”
Ms. Boneo said, “We had no idea how this appeal would resonate with others. It was wonderful to see how many different people and organizations came together to support this effort.”
“The camp is the kind of fix-things-in-your-own-community cause that we love to support,” said Elin Kropp, who along with her husband, David Poneman, contributed to the fund.
“We are grateful to the many individuals and community organizations who made this summer’s Coop program possible,” said Ms. Boneo, Ms. Liscio and Ms. Lowenthal . They acknowledged, in particular, Gail Vidales at the Hispanic Resource Center ,who was responsible for administering the fund; the Larchmont Gazette for their $5,000 matching fund drive; RADAR for its $5,000 contribution; the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation for $1,800; Cecilia Absher and David Katz for their contribution and an additional $1,500 in matching funds; and St. John’s Episcopal Church, Westchester Jewish Center and Larchmont Temple for their donations.
They were also grateful to the Town of Mamaroneck for its vote to provide up to $2,000, should it be needed. The Town already contributes $12,000 for the Coop program.
The complete list of donors includes:
|Cecilia Absher & David Katz
Catherine & Joseph Aresty
Harriet & Kenneth Barish
Jean Marie Brescia
Lynne & Robert Buly
Joyce & Jack Callahan
Marshall Cohen & Ellen Brooks
Benita Cooper Marks
Mary Ann & Nicholas De Feis
Debra Del Toro Phillips
Barbara Flickinger, MBIA (matching grant)
Gloria & Richard Kushel
Larchmont Avenue Temple
Liz & Mark Liscio
Naomi & Dan Lowenthal
Mamaroneck Schools Foundation
National Photocolor Corp. ( Alan Stern)
Lee Perlman & Linda Riefberg
Puglisi Fidelity Foundation (matching grant)
Valerie & Michael Puglisi
Sarah & Steven Robling
St. John’s Episcopal Church
Justine & Paul Taaffe
Iven Taub & Diane Duckler
James & Priscilla Warner
Westchester Jewish Center
Lorrie & Mike Zupon