A grassroots initiative to save the Coop Camp programs at Hommocks and Mamaroneck Avenue School has raised close to $20,000 in community donations in just under two weeks. But at least $15,000 more is still needed.
The publishers of the Larchmont Gazette will match future donations dollar for dollar up to $5,000 to help reach the goal.
In an effort to reduce costs, the Board of Education did not include funds for the Coop Camp in its budget adopted on April 21. However, a number of parents pleaded with the board to save the camp, which provides support for students who need academic intervention.
The cuts would mean that 100 students at Hommocks and 50 at Mamaroneck Avenue School would be left without a summer program. The preponderance of those served are from low socio-economic backgrounds that do not have access to other summer programs. The Coop also employs local teenagers including classified special education students, providing them with skills and first-time job experience.
The board agreed to re-allocate $35,000 for Coop, provided that the other $35,000 for Hommocks and additional monies for Mamaroneck Avenue School be raised through donations.
Mariana Boneo, the former executive cirector of the Hispanic Resource Center (HRC), along with Liz Liscio and I are spearheading the fundraising effort. An email appeal was sent to friends, as well as synagogues, churches, community organizations and village and town offices.
“We have been delighted with the response,” said Ms. Boneo. “It is very inspiring to see the different segments of the community come together to provide a camp for those who need it most.”
Added Ms. Liscio, “Ultimately, the Coop Camp benefits all students in the district as it provides academic support for children who need it, leveling the playing field when all students come together in September.”
Former Counselor Donates to Coop Camp
Richard and Gloria Kushel are among those supporting the effort to the save the camp. Currently a vice-chairman of Blackrock, Mr. Kushel said, “One of my first summer jobs in the early 80s was working for Mike Rainaldi at Coop Camp. I probably still have my orange t-shirts in the attic. I remember well how important it was in giving so many kids a fun and positive summer. It would have been a shame if it couldn’t continue, so we’re happy to help see that it does.”
The HRC has opened the “Si Se Puede” (Yes We Can) Fund to facilitate donations. Contributions should be made payable to the HRC mailed to the Hispanic Resource Center, 168 West Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, NY 10543.
To qualify for the Gazette matching funds, please note “Si Se Puede”and Larchmont Gazette on the memo line of the check. Contributions are tax deductible.
UPDATE: $52k raised, $13k to go