The first step of 'Millburn Gives Back' kicks off this Friday morning with the First Polar Bear Parade at Deerfield Elementary School.
The 10 lap parade of each grade through the elementary school will support NJCares' annual coat drive and 'Millburn Gives Back.'
Students have been trying to get sponsors to donate $1 a lap in support of the homeless students of Sayreville to help them rebuild their lives.
Donations should be sent in the day of the parade in an envelope marked "Millburn Gives Back." Coats can be brought in the day of the parade. We are also hoping our students get a sponsor for their walk.
Milburn School's Superintendent Dr. James describes 'Millburn Gives Back' as a way to give back to those affected by Superstorm Sandy below:
Dear Millburn Families,
We have an exciting and very meaningful post-Sandy opportunity that I am proud to share with you.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there have been a myriad of charitable campaigns, statewide and even nationwide, intended to help those hit the hardest by Sandy. And there are many local efforts as well, some of which our own families and schools have spearheaded.
These are all very generous, they do much-needed work, and are all examples of people helping other people in need.
Once we got back into the swing of things here, cutting our way through branches, limbs or trunks, the leaders of the Millburn school community (the presidents of the PTOs, the PTO Conference and the Education Foundation) got together to consider what, if anything, we might want to do as a community to make a difference to those in the state who were hit the hardest. To be sure, Millburn residents were hit hard, but we now know the extent to which other communities were devastated and the feeling was we wanted to do something for students and families in one of those communities.
We've found such a community and we're ready to help.
There are parts of Sayreville, NJ, that were obliterated by the storm. The families of over 100 students, many from areas of town that are less affluent, have lost their homes and most of their possessions and have since been living in temporary quarters such as hotels, shelters, etc. The Sayreville schools themselves did not sustain too much damage, but these families are an integral part of their school community and they need help. They need food, basic home necessities such as linens, and will eventually need home furnishings as well to replace everything lost in the storm. The magnitude of their upcoming recovery is hard to fathom, especially when a family of lesser means is facing the task. And this is where we intend to make a difference.
Our intentions/goals are twofold:
- Provide immediate, meaningful financial relief to the roughly 100 Sayreville students whose families where hit so hard by Hurricane Sandy. This part of the initiative we're dubbing "Millburn Gives Back" and will be divvied up into two parts--the first will be an intensive "gift card" campaign over the next three weeks and the second will be a more extended fund-raising effort during the second half of the year. I have been in touch with my counterpart in Sayreville, Dr. Frank Alfano, and together we are crafting a process by which the recipients' anonymity is protected and the "chain of custody" of these cards is documented from start to finish. The logistics are tricky, especially given our goal of getting the first wave of assistance there by December break, but it's worth figuring them out, and I personally guarantee that all of the gift cards will end up in the hands of the students' families. Sayreville officials are already appreciative and promise me that every little bit helps.
- Create a long-term, student-centered partnership with the Sayreville schools so that students there can interact, collaborate and become friends with students here in Millburn. The Sayreville school district is configured exactly like ours, in that they have five elementary schools and one middle school and one high school, so it's a natural fit and students at all seven schools in both communities will be involved in such things as pen pals, video-conferencing or other 21st century collaboration opportunities. Work has already begun on this very exciting part of the initiative, and what I like most about it is it will put a human touch on the fundraising piece. And if we do it right, it will also create some relevant and rewarding learning opportunities for our students.
You will be hearing more from your school's PTO very soon about how your family can help us in the next three weeks with the urgency of the "Millburn Gives Back" fundraising piece (each school will have creative ways to pitch in). All seven schools are part of this initiative, so let's take this opportunity to band together, provide some meaningful help to those in need, and set the stage for a long-term partnership that opens up many doors to creative and long-lasting learning opportunities.