When Citi Field opened its doors in 2009, it was accompanied by custom-made bricks for true die-hard New York Mets fans. The project, known as the Citi Field Fanwalk, sold instantly.
The Jericho Educational Foundation (JEF) utilized this same concept five years ago, selling engraved bricks in front of Jericho High School’s entrance. At the time, money raised went to improving the entire district’s Wi-Fi system.
Now, the JEF is bringing the “Paving The Way For Education Excellence” project back, aiming to raise money and awareness for an issue that is commonly on parents’ minds.
“This year’s mission is that the two important issues on everyone’s minds these days are security, as well as stress and anxiety,” Alana Sabesan, co-chair of JEF, said. “[The bricks are] beautifully placed right in the front of the entrance of the middle school and high school. This year, the net proceeds will be used to fund programing and infrastructure upgrades to help our students cope with anxiety and stress that they all experience.”
JEF, an independent nonprofit, will take a room that exists in the high school, creating a “comfortable, warm and inviting atmosphere” for students who are dealing with anxiety and stress issues throughout the day.
Located in the midst of the circular pathway, the brick project currently takes up half of the decorative circle in front of the school. The fundraiser, which began on April 1, will likely fill up the circle. It has the potential to expand all the way to the high school’s entryway if needed.
The goal is to raise at least $55,000, the same amount the group raised during the first go-round in 2014. Each brick will cost $200, with the option to fully customize them.
“This is a great way for the Jericho community to leave a lasting impression while helping raise money to enhance and enrich our students education,” Melissa Gerber, also a JEF co-chair, said.
The JEF hopes families who purchased bricks in the past will do so once again, all while spreading awareness about the project to families who are new to the district.
Emma Li, a JEF board member who speaks both English and Chinese, is communicating the message to the local Chinese population. She’s gone as far as translating the group’s flyer into Chinese, while also having many discussions with Chinese families about why money is needed to create such a space in the school district.
“Most of the Chinese people will love to contribute,” Li said. “They have big hearts. They really want to help their kids succeed in the schools. That’s the purpose of moving into this school district in the first place. They really want to help, and they want to know about the opportunities. They want to be introduced to these things and this can be the right opportunity for them to help.”
The Jericho School District was recently selected as the No. 1 district in New York State by Niche.com.
“Throughout the day, if someone is feeling stressed or anxious, this is going to be a place they can go,” Sabesan said. “Hopefully, this will entice a friend, who might not normally go to a room in a situation like this. Whether you’re in ninth, 10th, 11th grade or a senior, it’s a place they can go. Instead of it being about socialization, this will be a place for relaxation to recoup.”
The fundraiser will continue through June 26. If the JEF sees an increase in donations compared to the last one, it will extend the deadline.
Once the donation period is over, one family has donated their time to uplift the bricks that currently surround the circle, replacing them with the engraved ones. A groundbreaking ceremony for the new bricks will likely take place in September.
What did you think of this article? Share your thoughts with me at jwolkin@antonmedia