December 21, 2012
“I will buy 10 computers,” “I will buy one computer,” “Here is $5,” “Just use this money for tutoring or whatever will help”—these are the messages with just a few of the donations coming in to the “Help a Child, Change a Life” campaign of the Pelham Civic Association.
“We will take any amount and we will spend what donations we bring in,” said Civics Good Neighbor Chairman Richard Davidian, who came up with the idea for the program to assist Pelham students who cannot afford tutoring, SAT prep courses and computers.
“We understand the importance of all children having early exposure to a variety of learning and social support activities to enhance their academic, emotional and physical development as well as build greater self confidence and self esteem,” Mr. Davidian said. “Unfortuntaley, access to these types of experiences are viewed as out of reach because of monetary considerations in some cases and this program seeks to answer these.”
Donors to “Help a Child, Change a Life” are responding to a direct mail effort and in-store posters that complement a print advertising campaign to raise funds to support the program. Featured in the print ads are former Middle School Principal Joe Longobardi, former Board of Education President Nancy Fisher and Pelham Civics President Joseph Benefico. The Pelham Civics is spending $15,000 in seed money as a committment to the program.
At the same time, the Civics is reaching out to other local organizations to join in fundraising and is also seeking grants to fund the program.
Fundraising for “Help a Child, Change a Life” will be year round but
it will not impose on any other program supported by the Civics, such as holiday food baskets and gifts for the needy, the Summer Olympics for youngsters and programs for senior citizens.
The process for distributing computers, tutoring services and the like to students will be through the schools— elementary, middle school and high school. Music lessons, rental of musical instruments, foreign language support may also be offered.
Confidentiality of the student and his/her family will be honored. Members of the Civics will not have their names, just a profile of the need. Any funds involved will go to the program, not to the family or student.
“The focus will be to help ‘economically challenged’ students,” Mr. Davidian said. He said their families could have marital problems, health problems, employment problems—short term or longer term.
Mr. Davidian said there is no specific goal for “Help a Child, Change a Life” although he said “the response fromschools is that there is a large population has the need.”
In discussing the amount of funds needed, he noted the cost of computers, SAT prep courses, tutoring and the like can range $2,000-$3,000 each. He said some students also cannot afford college application fees or college visits.
For more information, contact Mr. Davidian at 914-552-0872 or visit www.pelhamcivics.org. To make a contribution, checks payable to Friends of the Pelham Civic Association may be mailed to The Pelham Civics, PO Box 8184, Pelham, NY 10803. The Pelham Civic Association is a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization.