Wrestling team gives back

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The varsity co-ed wrestling team collaborated with International Love to donate $1500 last year to the Forgotten Children of Haiti. It was the wrestling team’s first donation to this organization, and their second year of fundraising for worthy causes.

Physical Education teacher and wrestling team coach Ray Adamkiewicz first became acquainted with this organization from his local church in Jamaica Estates. Marc Esposito, who was a substitute paraprofessional for the District 75 program on the 4th floor last year, also helped connect the team to this group, which is maintained by his parents.  The wrestling team sold candy during wrestling matches, extracurriculars, parent-teacher conferences, and outside of the Townsend Harris community in order to raise money. Although the wrestling team initially began selling snacks to buy new equipment, they ended up giving approximately half of the money earned, along with additional money fundraised solely for this organization, to Haiti.

In 2013, Free the Children started this project as their mission to benefit the lives of others. When they combined with Amnesty International to form International Love, they continued raising money for the cause. They contributed by helping to sell tickets for the school’s talent show and the Festival of Nations. The donation paid for clothes, food, books, and other necessities for underprivileged children in Haiti.

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The Forgotten Children of Haiti is a not-for-profit organization established in 1993, aiming to improve and enhance the wellbeing of Haiti’s impoverished children. This organization provides money for various establishments, like the Saint Helene Orphanage in Haiti, that gives shelter to hundreds of boys and girls.

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This year Mr. Adamkiewicz wants to continue donating to this cause, with a monetary goal of $2500. He believes that he is sending a powerful message to the THHS community through this charity. “We must give back,” he said. “There are people who are less fortunate than we are here.”

The Forgotten Children of Haiti sent a thank-you letter with pictures attached, that read, “Your willingness to help disadvantaged and disabled children in Haiti weather the crises in their lives makes all the difference to the orphans at Saint Helene Orphanage and the volunteers who work there.”

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The students who participated in the fundraising really enjoyed the process and added to their understanding of the humanitarian goals of the school. Alumna Amanda Ramsaroop said, “One thing I enjoyed with this project [was that] it went to people who needed the help, and it showed that they were not forgotten, and that’s the overall message of Townsend Harris.”

English teacher and International Love club advisor Robert Babstock agreed. “It gratifies me to see the earthquake victims not forgotten when the news media leaves,” he said. He wants Harrisites to understand that there are always ways of solving [unjust] situations in this world.

Raising money in order to help the less fortunate helped bring the students together, not just as individual clubs, but as a community.

“Fundraising builds a sense of community in our school because we work together for a cause,” Amanda stated. “So even if [THHS] doesn’t continue to fundraise for Haiti – even though I hope they do — I think it’s good that as a school community, we came together for a greater cause.”

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Sophomore Alexis Sarabia, a member of the wrestling team, agreed, and stated, “I’m hoping that we do raise money for them again because it’s nice helping them out.” She adds, “We have so much here so the least we could do is donate for their benefit.”

All photos (depicting those who work for and benefit from the charity) are courtesy of Mr. Adamkiewicz. Mr. A encourages Harrisites to make a donation at this website.