Education

Warren's Valerie Fund Donates Interactive Robot to Help Kindergarten Student with Cancer Stay in Touch With Class

4683e8ee43eea97312a2_IMG_4551.jpg
Robot contributed by the Valerie Fund for use in the classroom. 
f208f1f43d0888cb6a72_IMG_4550.jpg
Robot contributed by the Valerie Fund for use in the classroom. 
b569b8bdb5a167faa3c4_IMG_4553.jpg
Violet the monkey holding Alexa's spot in the class until her return. 
4683e8ee43eea97312a2_IMG_4551.jpg

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Valerie Fund recently donated an interactive robot to the Mary Kay McMillin Early Childhood Center in Berkeley Heights for use by a kindergarten student suffering from cancer. The student, Alexa D’Amato, was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in July of 2014. She is currently being treated at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and has been out of school for the entire year.

The robot contributed by the Valerie Fund seeks to enable her access to her classmates and a classroom learning experience without her having to leave her home or the hospital. A screen located at the top of the device will project her image and voice, allowing her to speak with fellow students and teachers in a similar manner to Face Time on an iPhone or Skype. From home, Alexa will also be able to move the screen around, as it is attached to a stand on wheels. The device will recreate the classroom environment for Alexa without her physical presence. The school hopes to have the robot up and running before the end of the school year so Alexa can participate in the end-of-the-year activities with her classmates.

The school will use the robot until Alexa’s return. With this device, MaryKay McMillin can bring the classroom to Alexa and Alexa to the classroom. 

Sign Up for E-News

Over the course of the year, Alexa’s kindergarten class also took part in the “Monkey in My Chair” program to make sure Alexa remained a member of the class despite her absence. Alexa’s kindergarten teacher Karen Twill and principal of Mary Kay McMillin Annie Corley-Hand explained the program.

“It’s just a reminder that Alexa is part of our classroom. We had a speaker from the Valerie Fund come in and speak to the children about Alexa’s disease. Then we introduced Violet, the stuffed monkey that serves as a placeholder for Alexa,” said Twill, “the student response is very positive. Alexa is absent, but Violet is here everyday, holding her spot.”

Violet the monkey is symbolic of Alexa’s presence in the classroom. Although she is home-schooled by a classroom aide, the school does its best to keep her a part of the community. Along with the Monkey in My Chair, students have sent notes home to Alexa wishing her well and hoping for her return to the class.

 

About the Valerie Fund:

After their nine-year-old daughter Valerie succumbed to cancer, Warren Township residents Sue and Ed Goldstein were determined that no family should have to travel great distances to receive state-of-the-art medical care. Along with a group of close friends, they began fundraising efforts from their living room---tireless work that would lead to the 1977 opening of New Jersey’s first pediatric oncology facility at Summit's Overlook Hospital.

Today, there are seven, not-for-profit Valerie Fund Centers located in New Jersey, New York, and metropolitan Philadelphia staffed with social workers, counselors, psychologists and child life specialists. The hallmark of The Valerie Fund services ensures that families and hospitals do not have to rely on insurance reimbursements to receive the range of support of a multi-disciplinary team. More than 4,000 children with cancer and blood disorders are treated annually---a network that is one of the largest of its kind in the country.

For more information on the Valerie Fund, go to http://www.thevaleriefund.org

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

July 10, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

Do You Recognize These Dogs?

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Two dogs were found in Plainfield near the fire station on Central Avenue on Saturday. 

The dogs are currently with a family in South Plainfield.  If you recognize the dogs, please email TAPinto Plainfield at jpopper@tapinto.net.

A Hidden Gem in the Suburbs – Spring Academy Montessori Pre-School helps children reach their full potential by fostering an innate love of learning!

July 16, 2018

Located on a quiet residential street in Warren, NJ, Spring Academy Montessori Preschool opened its doors to the public in late November 2016.  Spring Academy wanted to fill a niche that was missing in the community -- a pre-school with a Montessori philosophy combined with an emphasis on language immersion.  Since then, parents have been coming from all over to enroll their children in ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, October 3, 7:00 PM

SCLSNJ's Warren Township Library branch, Warren

A History of the Old Presbyterian Graveyard in ...

Government Other

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Get Ready Warren: Fireworks, Food and Family Fun At Mt. Carmel Feast

July 13, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. – It’s time again for the annual Mt. Carmel Feast, a four-day festival full of food, music, games, rides, fireworks, and other family fun, located at Mt. Carmel Field in Berkeley Heights.

The fairgrounds will be open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 13 through Monday, July 16. Those four nights will include concerts, games, and ...

Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

A Guide to July 4: Fourth of July Fun Facts, a Video and Where to Find Independence Day Celebrations, Fireworks Displays

WARREN, NJ -  Independence Day 2018. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson penned words based on what he learned as a student of the enlightenment.  John Locke’s writings were ...

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

Viewing and Funeral Mass Set for 1-Year-Old Boy Killed in July 7 Crash, Fundraiser Established

July 16, 2018

RARITAN, NJ - A viewing for the 1-year-old Raritan boy killed on Anderson Street July 7 will be held this week at St. Ann Church in Raritan, according to an obituary released by the Bongiovi Funeral Home.

Matias Ortega-Rosales was killed on the evening of his first birthday when a vehicle hit two cars and then his family as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother, Domitila Rosales.

Bedminster Woman Dies From Injuries After Being Struck by Car in Mall Parking Lot

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Bedminster woman has died from her injuries after being struck by a car in the parking lot of the Bridgewater Commons Mall Monday.

Marion Kelley, 62, was struck by a vehicle while walking in lot four near the Macy's merchandise pick up area at around 3:20 p.m. Monday.

The 2017 Mazda was driven by Chinmayi Parikh, 33, of Piscataway.

The crash is still being ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...

Somerset County Flags at Half-Staff to Honor Grace Gurisic, First Woman Freeholder

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerset County will fly its flags at half-staff July 12 in memory of Grace A. Gurisic, who served as the county’s first woman freeholder more than half a century ago.

Gurisic passed away June 9; she was 84. Funeral services will be held 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 12, from the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home in Wayne. A funeral mass will follow at St.

3rd Annual Meadowlands BBQ Battle a Smokin’ Success

July 18, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Seven competitors battled it out at Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment's 3rd Annual BBQ Battle on Saturday, July 14, all vying for $2,000 in prizes and most importantly, bragging rights. 

The BBQ categories of best Ribs, Brisket, Chicken, and Pulled Pork, came with a $500 prize to the winner of each category. A panel of five judges conducted a blind ...

3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ set to Celebrate Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Exchange Place and WTC PATH Stations to Close For Weekend Track Maintenance

JERSEY CITY, NJ - At least they waited until after the Fourth of July fireworks were over before starting.  

PATH stations at Exchange Place and the World Trade Center (WTC) will close at 11:59 p.m. this Friday, July 6, and remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday, July 9, to allow crews to transition to a new signal system being installed as part of the ...

Make the Call, Save a Life

July 10, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - There is much focus on preventative opioid abuse education. Rightfully so. However, the goal in addressing the opioid epidemic is saving lives. Even if that means just saving one life. While people are becoming increasingly aware of resources relating to rehabilitative services, support groups for friends and family of addicts, and training parents for signs of opioid and ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...