The Jefferson Primary School community has been on a campaign to help the people of Puerto Rico recover following a devastating hurricane that struck and left the island without electricity, food, water, housing and basic services.
Sending a lot of love, well wishes and cash generated through several fundraising efforts, Jefferson has made a big difference in the quest to get Puerto Rico back on its collective feet. The idea was developed by school psychologist Dr. Kathleen Ozimkowski and the 65 Jefferson third and fourth grade Jaguar leadership team members, who wanted to be proactive, the first habit found in strong leaders.
Jefferson Principal Valerie Capitulo-Saide quickly signed onto the effort and helped pave the way to getting the fundraising efforts off the ground. Leadership team members met with high school Interact Club faculty advisor Camille Tedeschi and Young Leaders youth development organization co-founder Kevin Thorbourne, who used his connections throughout town to generate donated items to the initiative.
The third and fourth graders learned how to make Rafiki bracelets (friendship pieces that Ms. Tedeschi’s Interact Club learned to make on a service trip to Tanzania. The idea was that each Jaguar leader could keep one for themselves and make another to sell.
The student leaders held a bake sale and also sold Rafiki bracelets during the Jefferson PTA’s book fair and holiday boutique. The initiative included a pizza and game night with festive music and endless donated pizza, desserts of all kind, raffle baskets and lots of fun.
A crowd of more than 200 turned out for the night, which saw the student leaders, faculty and staff, Young Leaders members and PTA officials all donating their time for a good cause.
“This was a true collaborative effort,” Mrs. Capitulo-Saide said. “When staff, parents and students work together, anything is possible. I am super proud of our Jefferson family! We are already talking about what we can do next.”