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NYSUT Donates Hygeine Kits for Students

On April 24th, the Ken-Ton School District welcomed J. Philippe Abraham, Secretary Treasurer of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the organization that represents educators across the state. Mr. Abraham came to Ken-Ton to donate hygiene kits, adding to the efforts of staff at Kenmore East, Kenmore West, and Kenmore Junior/Senior High. Our schools have developed unique ways of providing food, clothing, and other items to students when needed. The kits donated by NYSUT contain everyday essentials such as toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant. It was very generous of Mr. Abraham and his colleagues at NYSUT to make this donation, as we know first-hand how important these everyday necessities are for students to thrive in school.

In addition to his responsibilities as Secretary Treasurer, Mr. Abraham oversees NYSUT's efforts to inspire educators to become vehicles for change within communities. We see the spirit of this initiative running strong in our schools. While Mr. Abraham was in Ken-Ton, Kenmore Teachers Association (KTA) President Jeff Orlowski brought him to our schools to showcase a variety of initiatives underway by our teachers, staff, and administrators to help students. These are just some examples of this fantastic work:

  • Kenmore East Food Pantry: Operated by teachers Hannah Aranha and Nicole Hoover and school counselors Michelle Washington and Janine Galante, the food pantry is located in the hallway on the third floor of the building and has a variety of options. It features sought-after items such as lightbulbs and garbage bags, which staff have learned that students don’t always have access to. They also offer a way for students to discreetly request assistance, which can be accessed through this link as well as via a QR code which can be found at school.
  • Leo Club: This Kenmore East student group, which is affiliated with the Kenmore Lions Club, is led by school counselor Janine Galante, teacher Kelley Holtz, and clerk typist Sara Catalano. Students in the Leo Club engage in a number of projects throughout the year including the Home Again Project through Journey’s End Refugee Services, which provides a fully furnished and equipped home for refugee families who are new to our area.
  • Big Picture Food Pantry: The food pantry is located in the Big Picture school store at Kenmore Junior/Senior High School. Maintained by school monitor Fran Pritchard and clerk typist Andra Fik, the food pantry began several years ago as a student project and has blossomed into something students can rely on throughout the year.
  • Big Picture Boutique: This operation, located within the Big Picture Program at Kenmore Junior/Senior High School, is maintained by teacher aide Michelle Phillips. The boutique is an entire classroom filled with racks of clothing that students are able to take home as needed. It also comes in handy when students are assigned to various internship sites and may not have access to items specific to certain work environments.
  • Freestyle: Freestyle is an extremely successful free clothing shop at Kenmore West High School overseen by special education teachers Melissa Magaris and Kimberly Zuccari. It was the first operation of its kind in Ken-Ton Schools. It has been operating for several years and has continued to grow, providing students with any clothing they might need at home.
  • Bulldog Threads: This is a free clothing thrift store spearheaded in December by teachers Mary Reinoso, Jacqueline Mang, and Jennifer Scifo and their students. Students have been responsible for collecting, sorting, and organizing the clothing as well as the washing, folding, and ironing. The thrift store, located in Room 251, has been available periodically for students to pick out any needed items.

It’s important to note that none of these efforts would be possible without the full support of the entire school community and a continuous supply of donations from teachers, staff, administrators, and community members. There are many students involved in these initiatives as well.

We are deeply appreciative of Mr. Abraham for his generous donation and the opportunity to showcase these wonderful initiatives. These operations are all shining examples of the generosity of our Ken-Ton community and how efforts such as these can make such a tremendous difference in the lives of our students.