Since Hurricane Sandy hit in late October, there have been many heartwarming stories of neighbors helping neighbors, businesses, organizations and places of worship assisting their communities — and now a program to help local students who were affected by the storm, Schools Adopting Schools.
The initiative was started by Julie Bergin, a Lynbrook resident and a West End Elementary School PTA member, with the help of her sisters Tina Horgan and Catherine Foley and her niece Kerri Horgan. Bergin was New York state’s representative at this year’s Mom Congress on Education and Learning Conference in Washington, D.C., April 29-May 1. There she met other mothers from across the country, and she has kept in touch with her fellow honorees through social media, and has posted updates on the impact of the storm.
“Because we were all involved in schools,” Bergin said of the Mom Congress, “they wanted to know how they could help [our] school kids.”
Through Schools Adopting Schools, she said, she has worked with more than 20 schools that are either in need of help or looking to help. Those in the latter category are all over the country, including South Dakota, Texas and Utah. A school from Salt Lake City adopted East Rockaway High School, which suffered extensive damage and whose students have temporarily relocated to two Baldwin elementary schools while repairs are being made.
Cathy Tierney, an East Rockaway PTA member for the past 10 years, is coordinating efforts on behalf of the high school and has been in contact with April Harrison, the representative from Utah, about what the school needs.
“The generosity from people has been overwhelming,” Tierney said. “The fact that schools are looking out for one another I think is a wonderful thing, so we’re just looking forward to whatever April’s school district can do for us and we’ll gladly accept it.” Tierney added that the school is seeking basic school supplies, like notebooks, folders and backpacks.