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A Heartwarming Gesture to Choose Others Above Self

Kudos to Sousa Elementary School fifth-grader Téa Cotronis for showing great character, compassion and philanthropy. After watching the catastrophic events of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria unfold, and learning about a local relief effort launched by Port Washington School District and parent groups, Téa stepped up to help others. She requested that her friends and family members donate to the cause in lieu of bringing presents to her recent birthday party.

“It was upsetting to see everything that these people had was destroyed,” said Téa, who is a member of the Sousa Helpers, which coordinates various food and clothing drives as well as the school’s Unity Day celebration. “I wanted to do something about it, so I asked people to bring donations to my birthday party to help people, instead of birthday gifts.”

All of the donations collected from Téa’s party will be sent to the Children’s Health Fund, a 510(c)(3) organization, which will use these funds for the Mobile Medical Unit, a large medical vehicle that was established in 2009 with financial support from the Port community following Hurricane Katrina. The MMU will be dispatched to areas affected by the recent hurricanes.

In conjunction with the Port Washington School District Parent’s Council and the different Home-School Associations and Parent Teacher Associations, the district has been accepting monetary donations for Children’s Health Fund at each of the seven Port schools. Monies are being used to equip the MMU with much-needed supplies and counseling.

“When we announced the MMU relief effort, donations began been pouring in from throughout our community,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Mooney. “Téa foregoing gifts to help strangers is an incredibly generous and inspirational gesture and shows that there is no age requirement for compassion and upstanding citizenship. It also reinforces that parents and educators alike are doing their part in raising great kids with great values. Thank you, Téa, for shining a light through a dark time for those affected.”

Téa is congratulated here by school officials and her mom. From left, Assistant Principal Kimberly Licato, mother Lydia Silva-Cotronis, Téa, Dr. Mooney, school counselor Jennifer Biblowitz, and Principal Dr. David Meoli.