With thoughts of the Sandy Hook tragedy still so painful, we wanted to share a story of two parent groups that demonstrate how school communities take care of each other.
Both groups, one a PTO on the coast of Florida, the other a PTA from Newport Beach, Calif., “adopted’’ Northeast schools that were clobbered by another devastating event this year, Hurricane Sandy.
In both cases, the parent groups posed a basic question to their community: Does anyone know of someone who needs help?
And so earlier this week, the PTO at Indialantic (Fla.) Elementary loaded up a truck with 100 boxes of school supplies, clothing, toys, and blankets from a collection it had run for several weeks, says Tina Descovich, PTO president.
The group sent that cargo, along with $3,100 and $1,200 in gift cards, to Monmouth Beach (N.J.) School, which was flooded in four feet of water from the hurricane.
Meanwhile, the PTA at Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, Calif., wrapped up a gift card collection that will be added to $5,000 from a community assistance fund. The gift is headed to the I.S. 061 William A. Morris School in Staten Island, N.Y., reports Sue Ellen O’Connor, PTA president.
In both cases, these connections came about from a chain of people, with one person who knew another person who knew of a school that needed help.
At Indialantic, the guidance counselor spearheaded the effort by first searching online for a school. Overwhelmed by the volume of hurricane relief information, she asked some Indialantic staff if they had relatives in the Northeast who might know of a school in need. Eventually, one teacher’s family member directed Indialantic to Monmouth. The guidance counselor corresponded with a Monmouth teacher and learned about the supplies the New Jersey school needed.
The Corona del Mar PTA was also searching for a school to adopt when one of the board members piped up that she had a cousin who was a school principal in New Jersey. She contacted her cousin and discovered the school has suffered extensive damage.
“The school was devastated,’’ says O’Connor. “The computers were ruined. They needed supplies and a lot of help.’’
When an Indialantic news outfit reported on the PTO’s Hurricane Sandy effort, community members began pitching in. For example, a woman stopped by the school and donated $50. Other PTOs in town donated goods and money, too. And a local business provided the truck and agreed to haul the donations to New Jersey.
Indialantic sent along a great photo to the Monmouth community, which offered good wishes to their new friends.