On Friday, April 5, the Kent Place Middle School Community Service group hosted a “Restore the Shore” fundraiser event to benefit the Community Foundation of New Jersey: Bay Head/Mantoloking Relief Fund. Over 200 students, parents and faculty attended the event, and the group raised over $5,000 through various contributions, which included the Student Council and the Primary School “Morning of Fun & Games” participants.
The evening was beach-themed, filled with volleyball, summer music, fun and games. The main event was a volleyball tournament. There was also a final match between a team of parents and a team of Middle School faculty. Students of all ages signed three volleyballs that will be donated to the Bay Head School. The event also included a dance mini-thon with a live DJ, Zumba lessons, hula hoop contests, estimation games and shore-themed door prizes. “Shore Stronger” t-shirts and sweatshirts, “Restore the Shore” bracelets, sunglasses and snacks were sold. In preparation, the entire Middle School had made and decorated colorful paper fish in Advisory groups. At the event, participants wrote the name of a favorite shore community, favorite beach or beach business on the fish and hung them on a large fishnet to show their support. Admission was by donation.
The t-shirts and sweatshirts were printed by LBI T-Shirt Factory. Chris Davis, who runs the business on Long Beach Island, was himself affected by the storm. He has used the “Shore Stronger” logo to raise awareness and funds for beach communities that are struggling to recover from the damages. All proceeds from shirt sales went to the charity Kent Place selected.
Community Service leaders and eighth graders Babi Oloko, Jessica Ken-Kwofie, Marta Bugen and Julia Cozine were part of the planning team. Classmates Hannah Van Cleef, Brooke Naylor and Caroline Snyder initiated the volleyball event idea.
Caroline Snyder said, "I saw the destruction of my beach town Mantoloking for myself and I knew that this storm had created permanent damage. I immediately wanted to help those affected to rebuild their lives that were destroyed in this horrendous storm."
“The devastation at the shore is heart-breaking, and our school community wanted to respond in a meaningful way. The students came up with the volleyball concept and so many people worked hard to see it through. It is gratifying to me when the students realize the importance of service to others and have so much fun doing it. The evening was full of energy and excitement,” said Amanda Berry, Middle School Community Service Advisor and Middle School English Teacher.