COVID continues to break hearts and health systems in many parts of the world, but in the US, summer camps appear to be off to a robust season. SGF has been receiving new applications almost on a daily basis for children who want little more than a chance to be kids in a safe setting. Thus far (as of July 7), SGF has approved $53,509.30 in summer camp scholarships for 38 children who will be attending 208 weeks of camp, 118 of which will be in overnight camp. THANK YOU!
Goodness, 2020 sure has been a challenge. Please read SGF’s 2020 SGF Year-End Update and Annual Appeal
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of us in so many ways. Most children did not have an opportunity to attend summer camp, and spent the summer at home, coping as best as possible. As a result, SGF received far fewer applications for summer camp scholarship funding than in prior years, but we did manage to fund scholarships for five children who attended Camp Winona in Maine. A total of $30,600 was disbursed for the 2020 camp season. We sure hope for a return to normalcy or at least a defined “new normal” for 2021. Stay safe, everyone!
Monday April 27 marks the 19-year anniversary of the Oak Hill Middle School bus crash – the tragedy that took Steve Glidden, Greg Chan, Kayla Rosenberg, and Melissa Leung from their families, friends and futures. Nineteen years has felt like an eternity and at the same time, as the mere blink of an eye.
Because of the need to be physically distant (while remaining socially connected), our community’s annual “Circle of Remembrance” will take place virtually this year, via Zoom, on April 27 at 6 pm Eastern time in front of the device of your choice (laptop, tablet, phone, whatever). Despite these limitations, we will gather nonetheless — as we have done each and every year on this date — in love, resilience, and connection.
No “registration” is needed, and in fact, none is even possible because SGF is using Zoom’s “basic” account plan, which, while free of charge, is also somewhat limited. The basic plan also comes with a limit of 100 participants. For that reason, if you would like the login link, just drop a brief note to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll gladly send it to you. We’ll do whatever we can to accommodate everyone.
In addition to serving as a remembrance for Steve, Kayla, Melissa and Greg, the Circle of Remembrance gathering has grown to honor the memories of others who are missed deeply. This year in particular, there are so many more whose memories we need to cherish, or who may be ill or in harm’s way. We will hold them all close.
This year, the Circle will also serve as an occasion to honor and thank Newton’s Mayor Fuller, other municipal leaders, and our amazing healthcare providers, first responders and essential workers. We are all so much safer because of their valiant efforts. Thank you all.
As you may know, the Circle of Remembrance has never followed a defined “program” or “service.” Rather, it loosely resembles a Quaker-style “Friends” meeting at which everyone is welcome, and anyone can participate. Accordingly, feel free to speak from your heart, read a poem, sing a song, or contribute in whatever other way you wish, should you feel so moved. If you prefer to be present yet remain silent, that is of course fine as well.
In prior years, those who were out of town, occupied, or otherwise unable to join us in person have sent letters, notes, emails or texts expressing their thoughts, sometimes with a request that their message be read aloud at the gathering. The silver lining this year is that all this is still possible, but for the first time, out of towners can join as well, as their schedules permit. Welcome back home!
Over the years, we have compiled people’s favorite passages into a booklet entitled “We Remember,” which we encourage you to download and use as you see fit.
Finally, if you are unable to join us on April 27, please take a moment to pause, reflect, and remember Steve, Kayla, Melissa, Greg, and the now tens of thousands of others we wish were still here with us, and to thank our beloved first contact responders and supporters for all they do for our community.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any questions. And. as always, we thank you for being there for and with us for all these years.
Final update from October 04-2019: SGF’s 2019 camp scholarship program broke through almost all of our previous records (all except the number of different camps attended by campers). In total, SGF approved $135,722.50 in summer camp scholarships for 83 children who attended 406.5 weeks of summer camp (132.5 of which were in overnight camp) at 19 different camps. The youngest camper we funded this year was just 3 years old, and the oldest was 18 (in a CIT leadership program). The exact age of one camper, who is a refugee, is unknown, but she appears to be a young teenager. Thanks for supporting our all-volunteer efforts, which, to date, have provided more than $1.25 million in summer camp scholarship funding!
Saturday April 27, 2019 marked the 18th anniversary of the bus tragedy that took the lives of four Oak Hill Middle School students: Greg Chan, Kayla Rosenberg, Melissa Leung, and Steve Glidden. As we have done each year, a Circle of Remembrance took place on April 27 at 6 pm, in front of Oak Hill Middle School. Despite the cold and windy weather, about 50 community members attended, including Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and former Mayor David Cohen, both of whom offered touching, eloquent remarks. Also present were representatives of one of the summer camps SGF funds, several vibrant young adults who were friends with Steve, Melissa, Kayla, and Greg, and a number of former teachers, neighbors and other supporters from near and far.
In addition to remembrances offered for Steve, Kayla, Melissa and Greg, many others in Newton and beyond have lost family and friends at other times and in other tragedies. The “Circle of Remembrance” was a time to remember them as well, in the company of those who care. Special remembrances were made in memory of all victims of gun violence including those who perished in hate-based mass shootings in Sri Lanka, Christchurch NZ, Parkland FL, Pittsburgh PA, and only earlier that day, near San Diego CA.
We invite you to download and print your own personal copy of the We Remember booklet.
Leonora Chertoff, long-time SGF supporter and beloved friend of Trustee Lil Alpert, passed away on April 02, 2019, leaving a huge void in the lives of her many family members and friends. SGF was named by Leonora’s family as one of the charities selected for memorial donations. Although we wish it were made for a happier occasion, we at SGF are grateful for this designation, as many deserving children will benefit directly in the coming summer.
Thus far, memorial donations have been received from:
- Elaine Alpert and Bill Marsh
- Lillian Alpert
- Goldie and Eric Arrow
- Robert Baranoff
- Bill Gilman
- Barbara, Stan, Dan, and Matt Hopard
- Florence Rothstein
- Shirley Salshutz
- Molly Wilensky
You can make a memorial donation in Leonora’s memory by check, by credit card, or via the PayPal Giving Fund. Easy donate buttons are located on the SGF home page. To make sure we know your donation was made in memory of Leonora, either include that designation in the memo line of your check, or in the comments section on the PayPal site. There is no integrated way to denote the purpose of your donation through the PayPal Giving Fund, so if you choose to donate that way, just let us know by email at email@example.com, or by phone or text at 617 283-5784, so we can acknowledge your generosity appropriately.
All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Each and every donation will be acknowledged to the donor and to Leonora’s family. In addition, an additional notation can be found in the Tributes section of the SGF website.
Leonora – your memory is already a blessing. Thank you for the privilege of your friendship.
SGF has been a participating charity in the Amazon Smile program since the program began in mid-2014. Although not a huge contributor to SGF’s revenue, every penny does help provide summer camp scholarships for the wonderful kids we serve.
SGF received $139.39 from Amazon Smile for the first quarter of 2021, growing the total SGF has raised since we joined this program to $2,005.39 (which makes us and the kids we serve smile :)).
How does this program work? It’s pretty simple and seamless: Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of all eligible purchases whenever you shop on Amazon, provided you designate SGF as your charity of choice.
To register and get started, go to http://smile.amazon.com/ch/04-3565429. Then, just remember to enter the Amazon site through www.smile.amazon.com (rather than the usual amazon.com). Your shopping experience will be exactly the same, you will incur no additional charges or fees, and the kids SGF serves will smile in appreciation! Please keep in mind that SGF does not have any way to know who has shopped on Amazon, or what they have purchased (so we are not able to thank anyone individually). SGF just receives a transfer into its bank account on a quarterly basis and we have to trust Amazon that they are handling Smile disbursements correctly.
As of April, 2019 SGF has disbursed $1,098,530.39 in summer camp scholarships (including a few early camp scholarship approvals for 2019). We are well on our way to granting our next million!
All we can say is WOW! None of this would be possible at all without the love, trust and generosity of SGF’s many donors. Thank you so much!
Holy guacamole, we’ve been busy – and we are FINALLY done for the 2018 season. We’ve set new records in each and every category, which has certainly stretched our budget to the max (but we’d do this again in a heartbeat).
Our trusted domestic violence, child protection, and homeless outreach partners have reached out rather extensively on behalf of children in their care for summer camp scholarships for the 2018 season. For the 2018 camp season, SGF has approved $123,694.07 in scholarship funding (our highest number ever – by far), to enable 76 children to attend 364.5 weeks of camp (115.5 weeks of which will be to overnight camp), at 30 different camps.
To recap the summer of 2017, we awarded a total of $95,416 in camp scholarships, enabling 65 children to attend 333.5 weeks of camp at 14 different camps, 79 weeks of which are for overnight camp. THANK YOU to everyone who helped make this possible!