Education


Reed Helping Texas And Puerto Rico

Published: November 04, 2017 at 12:00 am

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Reed PTA members Jennifer Chaudhary, left, and Debbie DeBlasi gathered clothing donations from the school to be sent to a school in Puerto Rico. Along with clothes were other items, like backpacks.
Reed PTA members Jennifer Chaudhary, left, and Debbie DeBlasi gathered clothing donations from the school to be sent to a school in Puerto Rico. Along with clothes were other items, like backpacks.
Reed Intermediate School's students and families have adopted a seventh grade class in Texas and raised clothing donations and more for a Puerto Rican school through PTA efforts.

PTA members Debbie DeBlasi and Jennifer Chaudhary chaired the efforts, which are continuing with online "wish lists" that community members can also support.

According to Ms DeBlasi, Reed adopted a seventh grade class at Keefer Crossing Middle School in New Caney, Texas, through the website texasteachers.org.

"They are a Title One campus so most of their families are lower income, and a lot lost their homes and belongings due to Hurricane Harvey," Ms DeBlasi explained in an e-mail. "... The classroom teacher provided their Amazon Wish List to our Reed school community and the response was wonderful."

Since the initial Wish List items shipped, Ms DeBlasi said she heard from the seventh grade teacher, Tiffani Walls, and more items for another class at the New Caney school have been added to another Wish List on Amazon. One Wish List is available online at amazon.com/registry/wishlist/2NIX0GW8AT4UA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_Coa1zb8YPY1TG, and another at amazon.com/registry/wishlist/1KMLMMTFHGK97/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_GqL7zb18PEDDN.

Ms DeBlasi said the PTA sent a flier home to families to announce the effort to support the classes, and offered other ways to support ongoing hurricane relief efforts in the flier.

"Many organizations are looking for monetary donations at this time," the flier read. "Please consider donating to Samaritan's Purse, [which] is on the ground in all the impacted areas (samaritanspurse.org hurricane relief) as well as The SATO project to help animals in need in Puerto Rico (thesatoproject.org)."

The flier also announced an effort to support a school in Puerto Rico with a local connection. Shipments of boxes with donations were already sent, with more boxes delivered for the donation effort on October 26.

Paget Haylon, a local resident, said she first heard from Ms DeBlasi after she posted an announcement about her brother Blake Wilson, who is dean of academics at the Caribbean School, on Facebook. Ms Haylon said on October 30 that her brother accepted the new position at the Caribbean School, a kindergarten to twelfth grade school in Ponce, in June. Mr Wilson is still "just becoming familiar" with the island, Ms Haylon said. Mr Wilson was living in Deerfield, Mass., before he accepted the position at the Caribbean School.

"All of the horror stories coming out of Puerto Rico are true... It is bad," said Ms Haylon.

So far Ms Haylon said she has collected and sent 14 boxes of children's summer clothes and other items to her brother; roughly half of the boxes came from the Reed effort.

The need now, Ms Haylon explained, is for other items. An Amazon Wish List has also been set up to help support the Caribbean School at amazon.com/registry/wishlist/2QRY98WBT2W4C/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_ep_ws_iHO8zb0H5YQ8D.

Items on the Caribbean School Wish List include water bottles, applesauce, and snacks.

"Whether by luck or divine intervention (or maybe a little of both), my brother's apartment complex and his school now have power and running water," Ms Haylon wrote in an e-mail on October 28. "Several teacher and student homes still remain without. They have been told not to drink the water even if they have it. The island, obviously, is still a mess. While many businesses are slowly opening, there are shortages of everything. Many mountain towns will continue to be without power or access to running water for a long time."

While reaching her brother for news has been difficult, Ms Haylon said they were able to coordinate the Amazon Wish List items.

According to Ms DeBlasi, teachers at the Caribbean School are heading up the project and are working with a local church, two nonprofits, and the American Red Cross to get the items needed.

"In many cases, for people that are Amazon Prime members, the shipping is free," Ms DeBlasi explained. "We tried to make it as easy as possible and tried to choose Prime items for the free shipping as much as possible."

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This Week's Poll

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is presenting or coordinating on six weeks of special events. Which event are you looking forward to the most? (Visit our Features page for a full story with details about all of these events.)

“In The Bag” exhibition, on view to September 28
0% (0 votes)
The Lords of 52nd Street concert, September 14
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Arts Festival weekend, September 15-16
50% (1 vote)
“An Evening of the Arts,” September 15
50% (1 vote)
“The Fox on the Fairway” production by Town Players of Newtown, weekends September 21-October 13
0% (0 votes)
“The Main Street Replica Project,” launching September 25
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series screenings of “The Blues Brothers,” September 30
0% (0 votes)
Photography display “In Our Rearview Mirror” by Marleen Cafarelli, et al, October 1-30
0% (0 votes)
“Love, Laughter, and Rhubarb” with Tinky Weisblat, October 3
0% (0 votes)
Newtown Day, October 6
0% (0 votes)
The 3rd Annual Newtown-Sandy Hook Restaurant Week, October 8-14
0% (0 votes)
Basket weaving workshop with Tina Puckett, October 13
0% (0 votes)
“Courageous Conversations in A Complex World,” October 17
0% (0 votes)
Live at ETH: David Wax Museum concert, October 19
0% (0 votes)
The 2nd Annual Fall Carnival at Fairfield Hills, October 19-21
0% (0 votes)
Connecticut Author’s Reading Series, October 21
0% (0 votes)
Natalie’s Open Mic, October 21
0% (0 votes)
“The Wordsmiths,” October 24
0% (0 votes)
Pianist Konstanza Chernov, October 28
0% (0 votes)
Someday Cinema Series double feature screenings of “Bride of Frankenstein” and “The Beast with Five Fingers,” October 29
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 2