Upper School HOPE Committee Raises $1,334.50 for Local Charities

Students in Oak Knoll School’s Upper School concluded its last of four HOPE Committee (Helping Other People Everywhere) fundraisers recently for the 2021-22 academic school year.  While dressing comfortably during a recent dress-down day, students gave back to those in need and raised $1,334.50 for three nonprofit organizations. 

Each HOPE fundraiser typically serves four different charities and benefits up to 16 charities per year. The HOPE Committee serves as a clearinghouse for all OKS fundraising, collections, drives, and all other monetary requests. Due to the ongoing COVID-19, while the HOPE Committee is unable to host its usual bake sales, they were able to sell bagels which added to their fundraising totals.

Earlier last week, students learned about three nonprofits in need during General Homeroom. Students, faculty, and staff then contributed $5 to dress out of uniform or casually.

Laura Ryan ’23 of Madison raised funds for World Villages for Children and the Sisters of Mary (WVC), which supports children in poor regions of underdeveloped countries. Ryan decided to fundraise for WVC after hearing about the program from a family member who works at WVC as Chaplin.

“It is important to me to fundraise for World Villages for Children because the donations that they receive assist the Sisters of Mary in continuing their work to help children who are in desperate need of a quality education, religious support system, and safe environment,” said Ryan.

Audrey Cicchino ’25 of Chatham, rallied her classmates to raise funds for Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

“Fundraising for FARE is important to me personally because I have experienced firsthand what it is like to live with a severe, life-threatening food allergy,” said Cicchino. “Over the years, FARE has helped myself and 32 million other Americans in many ways by funding world-class research as well as providing evidence-based information to help people with food allergies. It is incredibly important for others to support FARE because collectively our donations will help fund research to find the cure for food allergies,” she said. 

Students Siobhan Stack ’22 of Bloomfield and Caroline Nestor ’22 of Madison supported The Valerie Fund, a nonprofit founded in 1977 to provide individualized care to children at medical centers close to home. The Valerie Fund’s mission remains that of supporting comprehensive health care for children battling cancer and blood disorders. 

Nestor said that The Valerie Fund is an important organization because it provides a sense of hope to children who are battling cancer and blood disorders through uplifting programs and activities. 

“My education at Oak Knoll has helped me to realize the significance of providing basic resources to those who are less fortunate; small acts of kindness can truly go a long way for individuals in desperate need of help,” she said.

The proceeds from the recent HOPE Committee fundraiser were donated to the following three charities:

World Villages for Children and the Sisters of Mary (WVC)
World Villages for Children is a nonprofit providing financial support to the charity programs of the Sisters of Mary. The Sisters of Mary provide food, care, and education for more than 20,000 children in seven countries. These children are among the most marginalized and vulnerable. The Villages – also referred to as Boystowns and Girlstowns – provide children with a fully accredited in-house education program and vocational training. In Guatemala, Korea, and Brazil, the Sisters of Mary also run medical clinics and hospitals where they care for the poor. To date, World Villages for Children has helped 150,000 children and their families break free from a life of poverty.

Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE)
Food Allergy Research & Education is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to food allergy awareness, education, research, and advocacy; the group provides information, programs, and resources about food allergies and anaphylaxis. 

The Valerie Fund
The Valerie Fund’s mission is to provide individualized care to children at medical centers close to home, because they believe the most effective way to heal the children in our care is to treat them emotionally, socially and developmentally as well as medically. After their nine-year-old daughter Valerie succumbed to cancer in 1976, Sue and Ed Goldstein were determined that no family should have to travel great distances to receive superior medial care. Along with a group of close friends, they began fundraising efforts from their living room that led to the 1977 opening of New Jersey’s first pediatric oncology facility at Summit’s Overlook Hospital. Forty-five years later, The Valerie Fund’s mission remains that of supporting comprehensive health care for children battling cancer and blood disorders. 

For more information about Oak Knoll’s HOPE Committee please visit https://www.oakknoll.org/upper-school/student-life/clubs/.