Each school has its own representative, but Bergin matches schools after considering their respective populations. The McAllen Independent School District in Texas, which has more than 30,000 students, has adopted the Long Beach School District. McAllen recently announced that it would hold a dollar drive, asking students to bring in $1 for the Long Beach schools.
Bergin, who has served as the West End Elementary PTA president, said her experience has helped her see what children need. Now she puts schools that are thousands of miles apart in touch with each other to help return students to a sense of normalcy.
“It broke my heart that kids were homeless and had to live in shelters and hotels,” she said. “I wanted to make it so that they had supplies when they came back to school.”
Schools in Illinois and South Dakota have adopted three elementary schools in Ocean-side, and a school in California adopted Rhame Avenue Elementary School in East Rockaway. With the help of a school from Kentucky, Lynbrook North and South middle schools have adopted the Island Park School District. And the student council at Waverly Park Elementary School in Lynbrook, under the direction of teacher Shari Bowes, will sell “Cheer Grams” to help West Elementary School in Long Beach restock its art studio.
“I think what Julie and her sisters are doing is a fantastic thing for so many,” Tierney said, “because, unfortunately, there’s probably going to be more disasters at some point or another and a foundation like this could be very useful.”
Bergin said that the past few weeks have been busy, but she doesn’t mind. “It’s very fulfilling knowing that the schools are going to get help,” she said. “I just feel so bad for kids, and so many teachers have lost their houses, too … I hope this helps get things back on track for the students and teachers and the families.”
For more information or to get involved, check out www.facebook.com/groups/Schoolsadoptingschools.