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Lawrence Lately

Fostering positive relationships amid pandemic

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This school year has not been the easiest, but it is one that is being navigated the best it can be. To help ensure the safety and health of all staff and students, many precautions and measures have been put in place. Most recently, the Lawrence School District implemented the use of the Frontline Health App to make it easier for students to do their daily Covid-19 health check.

All after school activities and clubs have been suspended. Although these activities remain on pause, some teens have managed to find a way to give back to their community. Lawrence High School students have found themselves volunteering at Gammy’s Pantry located at the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence.

These students include Alexandra Acosta, Alexis Acosta, Angel Bran, Jonathan Folds, Maria Gomez, Danielle Hance, Danica Hance, Manuel Cortes, Keyella Jones and Temetria Marcus. They have also found allies in students from neighboring towns such as Joey Valenzuela from Valley Stream South and Julia, Chloe and Virginia Zorluoglu from Hewlett.

Two of the students, Alexandra and Alexis Acosta cofounded the pantry with their mother, Sasha Young. It is in honor of their late great-grandmother Betty “Gammy”  Young. Alexandra, a Lawrence High sophomore said: “Being a cofounder of Gammy’s Pantry, it is important to keep Gammy’s kind and giving spirit alive especially during the Covid-19 crisis. With the pantry operating seven days a week, it has been very challenging at times to handle the responsibility of schoolwork. Although I find myself doing homework and studying late hours, I am glad to know that families in our area have their needs met. One thing I have learned at Lawrence is to fill other people’s buckets and I will continue to do that every single day.”

The students’ daily jobs at the pantry include the packaging and distributing of fruits, vegetables and canned goods. The students also help organize and sort donations. Since the school’s annual Safe Trick or Treat was unable to be held, the students wanted to find a way to provide a fun experience for many youngsters in the community.

Under the supervision of Sasha Young, they helped execute the first-ever Trunk or Treat event. This allowed many young children in the community to collect treats in a socially distant manner. This Thanksgiving, the students will give roughly 700 turkeys and more than 1,000 hot meals to families in need through organizations such as Long Island Cares, Rock and Wrap It Up! and private donations from local community members. These teens have shown that even at a young age, they can foster positive relationships with their community.