HomeShamong NewsSeneca High School Student Council puts together unique event to aid charity

Seneca High School Student Council puts together unique event to aid charity

Seneca High School

When faced with taking on a challenge or taking the easy way out, the Seneca High School Student Council embraced the test.

Each year, the New Jersey Association of Student Council Executive board chooses a charity to sponsor. This year, the charity is Hope Loves Company.

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“We could have just written a check from our funds to support this year’s charity, but they decided to put a fundraiser together in order to truly understand what the organization is about and bring this awareness into the community,” guidance counselor and head of student council Erica Maira said.

The group decided to put together a dinner and silent auction at the high school with an open invitation. The community service club, led by advisor Lynn Ritter, has taken over the food aspect of the event.

The event will take place on Jan. 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the cafeteria. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5, and guests will have the opportunity to buy one ticket to win a basket for $10 or three tickets for $25.

All money raised at the event will be donated directly to the HLC charity.

Founded in 2007, HLC became the only non-profit in the U.S. dedicated to the children of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis patients. The mission of the group is to provide emotional and educational support to children and young adults who have family members battling ALS.

The majority of funding for ALS goes to research and patient care. While that is important, the children of these patients need to be addressed as well. It is estimated that 85 percent of ALS patients have children, so these children will witness a parent struggling with terminal illness.

HLC’s founder Jodi O’Donnell-Ames will be a guest speaker at the charity dinner. O’Donnell-Ames lost her husband Kevin Gerard O’Donnell to ALS in 2001.

In 2003, O’Donnell-Ames married Warren Benton Ames and became the mother of his two children, 11-year-old Nora and 8-year-old Adam.

Nora and Adam lost their biological mother Tina to ALS in 2000, so they shared that same feeling of grief due to the loss of a parent to ALS.

ALS has united the O’Donnell-Ames family through hope and love. They live each day with hope for tomorrow and want to help other families through their charity who, like them, know ALS all too well.

The 501 © 3 non-profit was chosen by the NJASC as its designated charity for this year. The NJASC is the oldest state Student Council Association in the United States, and has inspired the “Spirit Of New Jersey Youth” since 1927. Its members are from high schools and middle schools, public and private, across the state.

Maira alluded to how her student council group would have never known about the HLC if they weren’t a part of the NJASC.

The group immediately rallied around the idea for the charity dinner and got down to work, creating flyers and going out to local businesses in the area before winter break to try to assemble the baskets to auction off at the event. They were successful in gathering some unique prizes and are confident they will enjoy their winnings.

“They are quality baskets this year,” Maira said. “They require a lot of work to put together, so the students feel very accomplished when they get to hand them to the guests on the night of the event.”

The student council also puts the names of the companies on their respective baskets so the winner knows from whom their gifts are coming.

“That way it works out for both sides,” Maira said. “It’s a good way to advertise for these businesses.”

Maira has emphasized a distinct focus on raising awareness for the charity and bringing attention to the amount of work it does for the community on top of helping the group financially.

“People should know about a great, hardworking cause like this,” Maira said.

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