Filling 200 gift boxes with blankets, candy, ornaments, and love, the Sayville High School community helps families in local shelters.
The student volunteers take a two-second pose for this group shot with the 200 Blankets.
Finding Ways to Deliver Every Child’s Dream in 2020
A mere global pandemic could not stop the Sayville High School community from extending holiday cheer to families in local shelters. Despite the challenges in this “unprecedented” year, the Mangan family found another way to include Sayville High School in the Annual Every Child’s Dream event, even if the school could not host the dinner for hundreds of guests as they have done for the past nine years.
Instead, the Student Government “adopted” two-hundred children from the local shelters, thanks to the ongoing Every Child's Dream and Christmas Magic partnership.
Making the festivities bright for the homeless or economically disadvantaged in the community was the brainchild of the late Ken Mangan. Honoring his legacy, his wife, Karen Mangan, had been instrumental in determining how to make this happen in a COVID-19 climate. “She and I had our first conversation about this in September,” explained Student Government Advisor Ms. Katherine Van Dorn. “Each child [from the shelter] wrote a letter to Santa asking for a present.” While Mrs. Mangan purchased the gifts on the children’s wish-lists, she also purchased two-hundred large boxes, candy boxes, ornament boxes, and ornaments for the Sayville High School community to prepare.
Sayville students, faculty and staff were eager to give these children and their families "a little Christmas" they might not otherwise have experienced.
The generous outpouring from the community, in response to the Student Government’s “Non-gender-Specific Twin-Blanket Drive," ensured a new blanket nestled in each box.
In addition to the new blankets, the National Art Honor Society and Art Club members, under the supervision of Art teacher Ms. Jen Berotti, gifted their talents. The artists painted miniature canvases as tree ornaments. Two-hundred unique, handmade masterpieces were housed in little “gingerbread house” cardboard boxes and placed with the blankets in each, big gift box. The art students also decorated the gift-box lids with artwork worthy of framing.
Not only had the students lent their talents to decorate the box lids, but in a flurry of fast-paced enthusiasm, they filled those two-hundred holiday boxes in record time. So many Sayville High School elves—students and faculty from Athletes Helping Others, Anchor Club, SWEEP, Student Government, World Languages, along with the Music and Art Departments, and the general student body—hustled and bustled while pitching in with the festive preparations. The Tri-M students, with Advisor Mr. Ari Kramer, sponsored a candy collection. The Functional Academic Career Development students sorted the candy into two-hundred festive candy-cane-striped boxes that were also put into the gift box.
Stacked high and in tidy rows, the two-hundred gift boxes were a breathtaking and rewarding sight. “The box truck will have to make multiple deliveries!” Ms. Van Dorn exclaimed in delight. “The gift boxes will be picked up by the boys from The Hope House and brought to Karen Mangan’s house.” There, community members will wrap the gifts Karen purchased and add them the boxes decorated and filled by the Sayville students.
Sayville High School Principal Hoffer could not have been more proud of this “flagship program” for the high school.
“The students, staff and faculty of Sayville High School have once again extended their generosity of spirit and giving to our less fortunate neighbors,” Hoffer said. “Student Government, led by advisor Ms. Van Dorn, and National Art Honor Society, led by Ms. Berotti, have continued the tradition Every Child’s Dream albeit with a twist. The ultimate goal of helping others during this holiday season was accomplished without the tradition of hosting hundreds of our neighbors from local shelters this year at our school. This year, we delivered the artistic talents and generous spirit of our school community to our neighbors in partnership with the not-for-profit, Every Child’s Dream. All this while keeping the memory of Ken Mangan, the founder of the event, alive. We, Sayville High School’s students, staff and faculty, want to wish everyone a safe and joyful holiday season.”