By Janee Law
Two eighth grader of Candlewood Middle School in Dix Hills do more than go to school and participate in school activities. They also raise funds for teens battling cancer at the Cancer Center for Kids at NYU Winthrop Hospital Cancer Center.
Dix Hills residents Ashley Kalb and Morgan Mandel came up with the idea before the 2017 holiday season where through, Charlie’s Champions Foundation’s “Teen Project,” they raised over $3,000 in gift cards. The funds were donated to the foundation, which were then distributed to teens being treated at NYU Winthrop Hospital Cancer Center.
Mandel, 13, said, “We decided to do this because most of the gifts are donated to young children in the hospital and not a lot of the teenagers being treated get some for the holidays.”
Kalb, also 13, added, “We thought that if they had to spend a good holiday season in a hospital then we want to at least help them have a good holiday.”
The duo raised the funds by making announcements and flyers of their cause within the Half Hollow Hills and South Huntington school districts. In each school, the duo set up drop boxes where students donated gift cards.
The $3,000 they raised were added to other Long Island students who also participated in the Teen Project, where the total funds raised in gift card donations were $15,000.
The total $15,000 exceeded the amount raised a year prior for the Teen Project, which is an annual gift card drive for teenage patients at NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Hagedorn Pediatric Inpatient Unit and its Cancer Center for Kids.
The duo was also recognized by both the school district and Suffolk legislature in January for their efforts.
Mandel said they’re very proud of their efforts in raising the funds so that teenagers were able to enjoy their holiday season.
“We’re also hoping to do little things throughout the year so we can continue to support teens in the hospital,” Kalb said. “We hope to keep growing it so we could raise more money and we want to include additional school districts next year.”
Mandel added that it’s important for them to continue the charity work because they enjoy helping others.
They’re currently working on a few ideas of ways to generate more funds for the cause before the school year ends.
Both students are part of their school’s National Junior Honor Society, while Kalb is also part of the dance team and Mandel is part of the school’s soccer, volleyball, basketball and track teams.