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WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Comfort Tyler Park with a Twist

WeLoveU Volunteers Clean Comfort Tyler Park with a Twist

The WeLoveU Foundation volunteers in Syracuse, NY planned their monthly park cleanup with a fun addition: a school supply drive.

Each month a handful between 20-30 volunteers clean Comfort Tyler Park in partnership with the City of Syracuse’s Adopt-a-Block program. And to engage the community to give a helping hand in their own backyard, WeLoveU volunteers have different themes. For Mother and Father’s Day cleanups, volunteers prepped stations for guests to enjoy after cleaning like letter-writing stations, face painting, and playing recreational games.

However, with the new school semester around the corner, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers thought to host a school supply drive a week before the cleanup and conclude at their monthly park cleanup on Sunday, September 8, 2019.

WeLoveU volunteers clearing sidewalks in February and picking up trash in April.

The Need for School Supplies

Teachers around the globe and the United States face challenges of purchasing supplies for their own classrooms. Keeping that in mind, the WeLoveU volunteers reached out to two schools—Edward Smith K-8 and the Syracuse Latin School—and both gladly accepted the gesture of a school supply drive. 

Syracuse’s City Hall and the public library helped by permitting WeLoveU volunteers to leave drop-off donation boxes on site.

Cleaning and Helping Our Local Schools 

On the day of the cleanup, around volunteers met at Comfort Tyler Park. In a short amount of time, they filled 11 bags of trash with litter, weeds, and leaves they raked. While cleaning, neighborhood children and their families dropped off new school supplies. In total, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers and the community’s support garnered school supplies enough to fill four big boxes.

Read a recap of WeLoveU volunteers cleanup efforts at Comfort Tyler Park

Personal Delivery to Syracuse Schools

The next day, September 9, 2019, the WeLoveU Foundation volunteers personally delivered the new school supplies to Edward Smith K-8 and the Syracuse Latin School. Principal Kelly Manard from the Syracuse Latin School said, “Things run out at the elementary school, crayons get broken, pencils get broken, notebook paper gets used. So to have all those little extras to be able to replenish through the year is really helpful to the school.”

Through the efforts of the WeLoveU Foundation, big and small, the Comfort Tyler Park cleanup and school supply drive align with SDG #4 and #13—Quality Education and Life on Land. The volunteers in Syracuse hope to continue spreading positivity and help wherever help is needed.

Watch CNY Central’s news coverage of the cleanup and school supply drive!

WeLoveU Delivers 2,000 Books to Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital

WeLoveU Delivers 2,000 Books to Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital

WeLoveU’s Book Drive for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital hopes to provide the youth with a story they can each treasure and call their own.

In the month of January, WeLoveU was abuzz spreading the news about their month-long book drive for the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. For the children and young adults who come near and far for treatment, they turn to books for courage, strength, and hope. This is especially true after speaking to Amy Glazer, Executive Director of Development, at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center.

“Books are used for distraction during medical procedures, and reading promotes relaxation during stressful times. The Child Life team at the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital focuses on maintaining development during a child’s hospital stay. Reading is an important component in this mission,” says Amy Glazer. 

The hospital, outfitted and designed for the care of children aged from infancy to young adulthood, goes through plenty of books for their youthful patients to peruse. Each patient is allowed one book of their own to keep, from the time they check in the hospital until the time they return home. With the numerous families seeking care and treatment for their loved ones, the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital could certainly use a helping hand themselves.

The month-long drive garnered support from Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse (top left), Radio Hall of Fame DJ Bert Baron (top right), and more than 140 WeLoveU volunteers whose workplaces also participated by donating books. A donation even came through AmazonSmile from India!

With an overwhelmingly positive response and meeting their goal, the WeLoveU Foundation couldn’t wait to see the final result.

All Hands on Deck!

The WeLoveU Foundation put out a call to collect books for the children’s hospital, who provides each of its patients a book they can call their own. The goal at hand: collect 2,000 new children’s books. For the whole month of January, WeLoveU partnered with Barnes & Noble, sharing the book drive with neighbors, friends, families, and city officials.

World Read Aloud Day

In the midst of the book drive, WeLoveU volunteers celebrated World Read Aloud Day on February 1, 2019. On this day, people around the world read aloud together and share stories advocating for literacy as a human right, which belongs to all people.

WeLoveU volunteers visited and read to children in the Princeton Young Achievers program in Princeton, New Jersey. It’s a unique after-school program at the YMCA that aims to improve students school performance and English language skills.

Lisette, a WeLoveU volunteer who read to the students said, “It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community in this way. I enjoyed reading aloud to the children today. Not only did we share a story, but we were able to share happiness and emotions between one another. Seeing the children smile and have fun in this way made me feel accomplished.”

Delivery!

On Thursday, February 7, 2019, WeLoveU volunteers packed all 2,000 books and drove them over to the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital for the big delivery.

A group of volunteers on-site helped set up the boxes and books for the group photo. Hospital personnel attending the book drive delivery included Vice-chair of Pediatrics Dr. Stephen Percy, Executive Director of Development Amy Glazer, Supervisor of Child Life Ellen Goldring, and Child Life Specialist Erika Bella.

The Vice President of the WeLoveU Foundation East Coast Region, delivered a brief speech on behalf of the organization. For some of the hospital staff, it was their first time hearing about WeLoveU and its mission. While others recognize us from the 2017 Toy Drive for the children’s hospital. 

Final Thoughts

“Having a donation of 2,000 books will provide many children and their families opportunities to escape from the stress of being in a hospital and read a good book together,” said the Executive Director of Development.

When asked about his thoughts were about the WeLoveU Foundation and their book drive, Dr. Stephen Percy (right) responded with a laugh saying, “Let’s do this every week!”

He continues saying, “I think its tremendous. What we do is not only share the books with them, but let them go home with books. I always tell parents the best thing you can do with your kids is read to them. This is a terrific start to have the resources to allow us to do that. Thank you very much for what you do and keep doing it. You’re making a difference in the world every day.”

Thanks to everyone who participated, the book drive was a great success! The WeLoveU F oundation looks forward to having more events like this to work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This event in particular is a step closer to fulfilling Goal #4—Quality Education

WeLoveU Donates More Than 1,600 Books to Christiana Children Hospital

WeLoveU Donates More Than 1,600 Books to Christiana Children Hospital

WeLoveU hopes to plant the love of reading books and learning, which will last a lifetime.

Did you know more than 1 in 3 American children enter kindergarten without the basic skills they need to learn to read?

Children deserve an inclusive, equitable, and quality education as our next generation. The building blocks to a successful future start at an early stage of life. Luckily, one of the many tools a child needs in order to develop the foundation of learning may be found in our own households: books. Books contain words that children may never hear in everyday conversation. Also, those who read often express their joy in learning overall.

The Power of Reading

The Christiana Care Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware fosters this type of environment by incorporating books into pediatric care. They do so by partnering with the Reach Out and Read program that provides new children’s books to children—starting from ages six months to 5 years old—during their well visits. They also encourage families to read aloud together often. The program also provides families with strategies to develop literacy for all stages of a child’s life.

Plan of Action

However, the demand for books increases over time as patients walk in and out of the pediatric wing.When WeLoveU heard about the hospital’s need for children’s books, they sprang into action right away. They connected with Barnes & Noble about hosting book drives which they gladly agreed to help. So, for a little over three weeks from September to October, WeLoveU raised awareness about the cause and asked for book donations at local Barnes & Noble’s and on social media.

Many shoppers purchased books when they learned about the group’s cause and donated them. More so, about 250 WeLoveU volunteers purchased books from Barnes & Noble and other retailers and online distributors.

The Big Day

On October 19, 2018, the big day came for the book delivery. Volunteers met at the Christiana Care Hospital’s pediatric clinic. With their blue WeLoveU shirts, they brought with them exactly 1,618 children’s books.

Forty-five people in total attended the event. Even children in the hospital came and picked a book of their choice. One child excitedly grabbed a book and held it tightly. This is a telling sign that the fundraiser and the Reach Out and Read program will continue to touch the hearts of all who participate. WeLoveU is hopeful the youth will grow up with greater opportunities for success and happiness.

Along with the books, WeLoveU presented a plaque to Dr. Amanda Kay, the Medical Director of the Pediatric Practice Program.

Dr. Kay tearfully accepted the plaque saying, “This is one of the most caring and inspiring events I’ve ever had the opportunity to be a part of.” She also gave many other words of thanks and encouragement.

Councilwoman Rysheema Dixon from the city of Wilmington attended the book ceremony as well and presented WeLoveU  with a proclamation saying, “Today’s event was amazing. I am extremely, extremely excited for all the work the WeLoveU Foundation is going to continue to do in our city.”

WeLoveU Volunteers Complete Tarken Park Revitalization Project

WeLoveU Volunteers Complete Tarken Park Revitalization Project

Tarken Park and Recreation Center: Mission Accomplished!

On Sunday, March 18, 2018, 60 volunteers from the International WeLoveU Foundation returned to the Tarken Park and Recreation Center in northeast Philadelphia for round two of their revitalization efforts.

Initially, the group turned their attention on the park in November of 2017. With nearly 70 volunteers, they repainted graffiti-covered walls, uprooted weeds, replaced basketball nets and collected trash.

The community really appreciated the volunteer’s hard work and showed it by maintaining the improvements during the winter season. Not a single basketball hoop was broken. Freshly painted walls on the recreation center remained graffiti-free. Litter and other trash once found scattered throughout the park were kept under control. Now, the WeLoveU Foundation returned to the neighborhood to complete the remainder of the project.

The volunteer’s focus switched to removing poisonous vines and invasive plants. Over time, the unwanted greenery grew around the park’s playgrounds, tennis courts, and baseball fields. To counter this, the participants began digging and uprooting vines that crept up the sides of the tennis courts and fences. Surprisingly, each vine reached 12 to 15 feet above the ground’s surface! By removing them, all visitors can be sure to enjoy a safe park experience.

Meanwhile, the rest of the volunteers grabbed shovels and rakes. They bagged up loose wet leaves unearthed since winter. Also, they cleared pathways blocked by dirt and debris to make a safer walking trail.

Altogether, volunteers removed close to 2,000 pounds of trash, leaves and other hazardous debris from the park and recreation center. Many families happened to be visiting the park or passing by. They encouraged the WeLoveU group by saying words like, “Good job,” “Thank you,” and “Keep doing what you’re doing!”

During the course of the event, local media outlets came to report WeLoveU’s efforts at the Tarken Park and Recreation Center. Philadelphia’s ABC6, NBC10 and Fox 29 spread out throughout the park recording all the progress made.

Learn more about the Clean WORLD Movement and get involved. 

Toy Drive for the Children of the Child Life Program

Toy Drive for the Children of the Child Life Program

International WeLoveU Foundation Partners with Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center to Host a Toy Drive for the Child Life Program

Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse Designates City Hall as Drop-off Location

Hackensack, NJ—The International WeLoveU Foundation (WeLoveU) partnered with Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center to host a toy drive for the Child Life Program in an effort to collect new toys for all children who visit the hospital. Recently, the hospital had to discard all of the toys reserved for children who not only visit the hospital on a daily basis, but those who are being treated long-term, including newborns in intensive care units. WeLoveU volunteers are working with local businesses and retail stores and Hackensack Mayor Labrosse also designated City Hall as a drop-off location for the Hackensack community to also join in the effort. This volunteer service is part of WeLoveU’s Social Welfare initiative, a collective effort to help our global neighbors by providing services for local communities, including children and youth in need.

“WeLoveU’s Chairwoman Zahng Gil-Jah has inspired people around the world to participate in selfless volunteerism through various social welfare projects that benefit the lives of people beyond nationality, race, religion and socioeconomic status in their own communities.” said Rebecca Parker, Spokeswoman of the International WeLoveU Foundation on the East Coast. “By educating and encouraging a community of volunteers, we believe the efforts put into our own community today will make a difference within the global village.”

The International WeLoveU Foundation has been actively collecting toys since September 21, 2017 and will deliver the toys to the Child Life Program on November 1st. The toy drive is receiving local support from neighborhoods and retail stores in Belleville, Bogota, Hackensack and Ridgewood to name a few. The City of Hackensack and the WeLoveU Foundation have history working together in past projects since 2009, including environmental community cleanups.

Cool Kids Golf Tournament, Edgewood Country Club

Cool Kids Golf Tournament, Edgewood Country Club

On June 23, 2014, former Jets player Bruce Harper requested the participation of the WeLoveU cheer squad to greet golfers who helped raise funds for Heroes and Cool Kids. A select WeLoveU member sang the national anthem and kicked off the fundraiser while the Vice President made an introductory statement about the foundation’s background and about its founder, Zahng Gil-Jah. Heroes & Cool Kids is a nonprofit organization that began serving New Jersey’s youth from 1998. The program utilizes the services of current and former professional athletes whose personal life experiences enable them to train high school student leaders. Through life skills training and other courses, the program helps youth learn to be good examples in the community.

 

WeLoveU Foundation Cheering on Police Departments

WeLoveU Foundation Cheering on Police Departments

WeLoveU Volunteers Cheer on New Jersey Police Departments at the Annual Battle of the Blue

On March 19, 2014, the International WeLoveU Foundation showed its support with a cheering frenzy at the 14th Annual Battle of the Blue basketball tournament to benefit the Tomorrows Children’s Fund. More than 40 vounteers from WeLoveU donated to the cause for children and stayed in the bleachers from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. cheering on the players to keep them encouraged.

WeLoveU’s presence at the basketball tournament was an unexpected surge of energy to the players and it brought smiles to the spectators as well.This is just one of WeLoveU’s missions: to spread love and joy to all people through welfare activities.

“I want to say that this was the loudest event that we’ve heard in a long time. We really appreciate you guys coming out and making a difference,” stated Kevin Barett, a retired police officer and the organizer of the event. “I had several of the players and fans say what a difference it made to have you guys in the stands cheering. It worked out very, very well. I appreciate you coming.”

Kevin Barett showing his gratitude towards the WeLoveU Founation.

Kevin Barett showing his gratitude towards the WeLoveU Founation.

Following the example of the Chairwoman Zahng Gil-jah, the members work with their own hands cleaning up the environment, raise funds for hospitalized children, provide relief and comfort to seniors, and contribute to community needs.

Michael Rabboh, a Paterson Police Department Officer held the winning trophy in hand as he thanked the WeLoveU volunteers for their encouragement. He stated, “If it wasn’t for your foundation cheering everyone on, the games would not have been exciting. You guys did a great job and my hat is off to the WeLoveU Foundation!”

The International WeLoveU Foundation has been established since 2001 and can be found in more than 53 countries. It has won presidential merit awards and accolades from across the globe for its environmental efforts and social welfare activities. The WeLoveU Foundation will continue its cheering activities to give hope and joy to those in despair as their good neighbor.

WeLoveU Supports Women, Infants and Children Breastfeeding Education

WeLoveU Supports Women, Infants and Children Breastfeeding Education

On February 11, 2014, WeLoveU volunteers fundraised for and prepared a special breakfast to share with nursing mothers. They woke at 4:00 AM to prepare chicken fajitas and fresh fruits by hand and drove 2 hours to deliver the love to nursing mothers and their children.The effort was for a special breastfeeding luncheon to discuss the importance of using healthy ingredients for nutritious meals.

The New Jersey State Women, Infants and Children program provides supplemental nutritious foods to pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to the age of five. The program services also include education, counseling, immunization screening and health care referrals.

 

Big Game 5K “One Run Many Lives Touched” at GSP in Paramus

Big Game 5K “One Run Many Lives Touched” at GSP in Paramus

On January 26, 2014, the Big Game 5K was held at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus New Jersey to arouse interest in the Super Bowl and to help support and raise funds for different charities in the area. Some of the charities included Hero’s and Cool Kids, Boys and Girls Club, Children’s Aid and Family Services, the National Multiple Sclerosis and others.

The International WeLoveU Foundation showed it supports not only for the charities but to the runners who made effort to participate. The cheerers stood at both sides of the finish line to lead the runners home with cheers and encouraging chants. The volunteers developed lasting relationships with the charities and continued to help the community through the effort.

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