The township’s Public School Teacher Association, Support Staff Association and Education Association jointly hosted the 10th annual Dreams Come True Halloween party last week at Scarpinato’s.
This event was created a decade ago to help local families or students in need.
“Ten years ago, we started doing this to help a child in Washington Township that had suffered a catastrophic illness,” said Shaun Giberson, Education Association vice president at the township high school. “It is important because it brings a lot of different aspects of the community together.”
Giberson said the event was inspired by a beef and beer fundraiser and a local version of the Make a Wish Foundation. This year’s Halloween party was paid for through a PRIDE grant, a statewide effort to share the successes of public education with all state residents and build strong community support for and involvement in public schools.
With the event covered by the grant, 100 percent of funds raised through ticket sales and a basket auction will go directly to the families. Each ticket was $30.
“Folks usually congregate and hang out with their friends or meet new people,” said Giberson. “Most people participate in the basket auction and the 50/50, but we do have a rule that you cannot donate the 50/50 back.”
Since its inception, the Halloween event has raised more than $55,000 for township families in need, some of whom have used the funds to take their ill children on a family trip or pay for medical expenses. This year’s proceeds will be divided among five more families: three with members suffering from cancer, two with recent graduates of the township high school and one with a first-grade student in the school district. One student who has been through multiple surgeries and another in need of brain surgery after being struck by a vehicle will also benefit.
“This event lets people know that we support the community and that we are not just teachers and secretaries,” Giberson explained. “It is important that the community knows we care about our kids and the community as a whole.
“We see the greater good in helping families.”
Party guests dressed in costumes for photos and also competed in a basket auction. Activities included tarot card readers, food and a 50/50 raffle.
“The executive committee has supported this event from the start,” noted Giberson. “It is huge, the amount of work that they do … If I didn’t have them, it wouldn’t be possible. It is a huge undertaking.”
For more information about the township Education Association, visit https://washingtontwpea.org. Anyone interested in helping the families outside of the event can donate funds to Venmo: @NatalieAnn918 until Nov. 15.