SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – For the third year, police teamed up with the local Target store to bring some holiday cheer to 10 student “Heroes and Helpers” on Wednesday afternoon.

Sponsored by Target, the local police unions and school administrators, the Heroes and Helpers program recognizes students for their work inside their schools and communities, according to the department. 

Each of the students was recognized at a brief ceremony at the store then given a gift card for $245, then shopped with their partner police officer for two hours getting gifts for family and friends.

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“The event was a huge success with over 60 people in attendance at the ceremony to recognize the students,” Sgt. Gene Rickle, the program coordinator, said. “These young people distinguished themselves by the actions they take on a daily basis to make a difference.”

The program recognized 10 students, chosen by South Brunswick school officials out of the 9,000 students in the district, the department said.

According to the agency, the students were involved in numerous programs which benefited the community and schools. Some of their outstanding efforts included;

  • Promoting Autism awareness and helping autistic kids in the classroom and on the playground
  • Helping kindergarteners learn to read and volunteering to tutor other students
  • Assisting in socializing new students when they transfer to South Brunswick schools and reaching out to shy students in school and on the playground
  • Acting as an interpreter for a student who spoke little English
  • Working in a soup kitchen and helping with food drives for the needy
  • Raising money for the homeless through odd jobs and fundraisers
  • Co-founding Hartley’s Legacy – Uses music to reach out to elderly seniors, victims of unfortunate tragedies, and children in need
  • Raising money for victims of the Sewol Ferry tragedy in South Korea through benefit concerts
  • Raising money for Pencils for Promise, which donates school supplies for kids in need
  • Founding the Authors Helping Authors Writing Program which mentors younger students in writing techniques
  • Working with other students through COOL – Creating Our Own Leaders, and working with other students through FLY – Finding the Leader in You

South Brunswick Chief Raymond Hayducka thanked Target of South Brunswick, South Brunswick School District Superintendent Dr. Gary McCartney, South Brunswick School Districts Supervisors and Administers, PBA Local 166 and FOP Lodge 51 with funding the event.

“The police unions and school officials realize the importance of recognizing the young people that give us hope for tomorrow,” Hayducka said. “These young people are positive role models in their schools. The officers they teamed up with make a positive difference on a daily basis in South Brunswick and this event will create a long-lasting memory for the officers and students.”

He recognized the South Brunswick School District for nominating the students and their families for the support they have given these young people.

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