“Tools for School” Graduates – Jetting Off With Sparkle!

It was a busy year in SOWMA’s Community Room, where we receive, inventory and customize backpacks and school supplies.  This “Tools for School” program is part of our three-tiered Pathways to Success, which includes tutoring and mentoring in addition to school supplies. This year alone we outfitted more than 4,500 students with customized grade-level backpacks, a number that constitutes nearly 20% of the student homeless population in our state. 

None of this could happen without our volunteers.  Some, like those featured above, are graduating from high school or college, and will continue making a difference and sharing their sparkle as they pursue their next big thing! 

Ashley Rose (Needham High School) and Kim Troung (Oliver Ames High School) were great ambassadors for SOWMA.  Both were leaders of a SOWMA Club at their respective high schools and helped with fundraisers, networked for SOWMA and recruited volunteers for our events.  Just a phone call away, these young women took on every task with a dedicated commitment to our mission. Congratulations to Ashley and Kim as they move on to  Northeastern University and the University of New Hampshire respectively. Thanks for leaving behind a solid SOWMA Club succession plan and passing the torch to your peers.

Adam Lyons (Oliver Ames High School) arrived via National Honor Society to do service hours.   After completion however, he returned with a couple of friends in tow.  Adam soon became part of the fabric of SOWMA and took on a leadership role as he rolled up his sleeves for our Tools for School program and our spring Run, Walk & Wag event in May. Best of luck as you head to UMass Amherst.

Abby Less (Oliver Ames High School) has made our office her home throughout many summers, helping during the dog days of summer as we prepare and customize thousands of backpacks for the school year ahead.  She not only sorted and prepared, but helped deliver to our community partners.  Abby helped with events and tutored a child at our Crescent Credit Union Learning Center site. She came to SOWMA to make a difference and she did!  Best of luck as she heads off to Hamilton College.

Marin Gregory (South Shore Charter Public School) traveled through the fall and winter months to help with events, from our fall Open the Door Gala, Barnes and Noble Book Fair, Pop Up Shop and the Martin Richard Spring Service day.  She came with her Key Club to prepare bags and even brought a donation. She recently said, “Honestly all I want to do is help children.”  We can’t wait to see what you bring to the University of New Hampshire.

Molly Sullivan (South Shore Charter Public School) is a classmate of Marin’s and together they customized backpacks.  She spent her final week of school at SOWMA just before graduation to ensure kids were equipped with summer reading bags. Molly was quick to help with our Volunteer Dinner and put great care into her work.  She’s off to Loyola University in New Orleans, where she’ll undoubtedly continue to make her mark.

Our college volunteer graduates include Jake Chipkin (Roger Williams University) and Wheaton College graduates Sarah Lombard and Riley Tetrault. Jake tutored at Bolton Place, helped in the Community Room and was instrumental on race day!  Sarah and Riley readied thousands of students for a school year filled with everything they need to succeed! There will never be enough thank you’s for you, Sarah and Riley.

We salute each of these young people for their dedication, spirit and hard work.  They have been remarkable community ambassadors for SOWMA and the children and youth we serve. 

Congratulations and best wishes to this Class of 2019.  Keep sharing that sparkle Ashley, Kim, Adam, Abby, Marin, Molly, Jake, Sarah and Riley!