Vicinity Magazine, March 2011 - page 6
In The Vicinity By Jessica Schiffenhaus A Home Built with Love he Somerset Hills YMCA is feeling the heartwarming eﬀect of community support after dozens of people volunteered to help with the building of the Melissa Riggio Residence, and continue to volunteer their time, money and eﬀorts to complete the house. Located on land that was donated to the YMCA, the Melissa Riggio Residence is a beautiful, brand new home that will accommodate six adults with developmental disabilities. e home is named in honor of Melissa Riggio, a YMCA employee who was born with Down syndrome and passed away in 2008 after a yearlong battle with leukemia. Some people who knew Architect Rendering of the Melissa Riggio Residence Melissa and the Riggios donated their time and service to the project, including Jeﬀrey Haines, of Butler's of Far Hills, Inc., and Gregg Kiesel. Both of them are overseeing the interior design project, and Haines's daughter, Ashley Bastow, did the landscape design for the project. Other people—some of them members of the YMCA—were inspired by the project and joined the eﬀort. Jonathan Vidler volunteers his time to act as the landscape project manager, making sure that everything is in order. Another member was able T to get plumbing ﬁxtures donated by Kohler. Even children such as boy scouts, NYC Xavier High School National Honor students and preschoolers from Gentle Shepherd Preschool have all found a way to help. " is project clearly shows that the Y is changing people's lives each day. We are making this community a better place to live for everyone," said Alison Buxton, VP of Development at the Y. When one generous man heard that there weren't enough funds to fully ﬁnish the lower level, he called and asked how much it would cost—then wrote a $50,000 check to ensure its completion. Now the YMCA just needs to get the ﬁnal items for the inside of the house. ere's a wish list set up on Amazon.com with a range of products that people can choose to donate—from an $8 oven mitt to a $1000 television and everything in between. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for May 6, and the following day people can tour the house and see how everything came together. Melissa Riggio was a leading self-advocate and an inspiration to her community and all over the world; the Melissa Riggio Residence is proof of the lasting impression she made on everyone around her. To learn more or to access the wish list, visit www.somersethillsymca.org/content/view/808/369/ and click the link on the homepage. For information about supporting the residence through a monetary or in-kind donation, call 908-766-7898 x1371 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, contact Alison Buxton at 908-630-3508 or email@example.com. SNOW is No Match for Mount Saint Mary A t many schools, snow days leave students and faculty struggling to catch up on missed lessons—but not at Mount Saint Mary Academy. While school is closed in bad weather, students don't have the day oﬀ; instead, they check Moodle, the web-based course management system used by Mount teachers to post assignments. Teachers can also employ more creative uses of the technology to oﬀer direct instruction, answer questions and lead discussions. Many faculty members host live chats and have online forums, wikis and blogs where students can post responses. Others create podcasts and narrated PowerPoints. "In spite of all the snow, we are staying on track with the syllabus," said English teacher Karen Engelmeyer. "It's as if we have not missed a day." All faculty and students have their own tablet computers equipped with state-of-the-art programs and receive regular instruction in technology, which gives the Mount the advantage of providing a supportive, educational environment both inside and outside the classroom. "We are able to accomplish all of our in-class work outside of school," said sophomore Rachel Berry. "We can come back to school without falling behind." Mount Saint Mary Academy is a Catholic, independent college preparatory school for young women. 1645 Route 22 at Terrill Road, Watchung • 908-757-0108 • www.mountsaintmary.org 6 Vicinity MAGAZinE March 2011
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