We asked Moorestown Friends School Faculty and Staff:
Where Do You Give Your Time?
In honor of #GivingTuesday, here are just a few of the causes that our teachers and staff members support.
Where possible, links are provided so you can learn more about the organizations. We hope you learn more about our teachers, too!
Middle and Upper School Math Teacher Karen McHugh rescues cats and dogs from kill shelters in the southern United States and fosters them through Luv Furever Animal Rescue.
“Over the six years I have been doing this, my boys and I have saved and placed over 150 cats and 75-plus dogs and puppies. One of our foster dogs, Hank, was to be put to sleep because he was found wandering a road in South Carolina. He is a senior dog and it took us eight months to find him a home, but patience prevailed and he is now with a family who loves him.”
Admissions Assistant Ann Campbell volunteers two to three Saturdays each month at Food, Faith & Friends. The program provides over 250 meals each week to men in need, as well as computer classes, Life Recovery, health education, and tutoring for men who suffer from mental illness, addiction, and physical impairments.
“Old St. Joseph’s Church in Philadelphia provides lunch for homeless men three times each week. On Saturdays, I help with serving the meals, sometimes cooking, and I also help with distributing their mail which comes to the church.”
Associate Head of School Chris Kimberly volunteers for the New York – New Jersey Trail Conference and maintains three miles of trail in the Mahlon-Dickerson Reservation in Morris County. The NY-NJ Trail Conference partners with parks and recruits volunteers to create, protect, and promote 2,000 miles of public trails.
Middle School Director Steve Shaffer donates blood regularly to provide for accident victims, cardiac patients, premature infants, and other individuals in need of blood transfusion. He has donated blood over 80 times in his life and is happy to answer any questions you have about it.
Computer Science Teacher Gail Barna enjoys serving dinner at Cathedral Kitchen about once per month. Sometimes she goes with other MFS faculty or with a student group, and other times she goes with her family.
Middle and Upper School Chemistry Teacher Andrea Robinson is a foster parent. As of December 2014, she is fostering a baby boy, and her family adopted a teenage daughter last year on National Adoption Day (November 22). Andrea has had 15 different children, “for as short as three days and as long as forever.”
“Foster care is so doable and I love to raise awareness about the need, the process, and the ease.”
Middle School Science Teacher Debbie Lord is Vice President of the Board of Trustees and Treasurer at the Pompeston Creek Watershed Association.
“We are a small group in western Burlington County dedicated to the protection, restoration, and conservation of the Pompeston Creek and its watershed through education, monitoring, and research. MFS students sometimes participate in cleanups and invasive plant removal with PCWA volunteers at the sites. PCWA and Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Water Resources Program, with help from MFS students, also installed the rain garden that is on campus in front of the Greenleaf Mansion.”
Debbie is also a board member of the Circle of Twelve, a group which serves children and young adults with special mental and physical needs in the sugarcane work camps of the Dominican Republic. In the past, MFS students have made health kits for children served by the organization.
Associate Director of College Guidance Margaret Van Meter is a volunteer member of the Board of Trustees for the Greater South Jersey Chorus. She sings in both the Chamber Singers and the 90-person volunteer chorus, which have concerts in December and May.
Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications Kat Clark volunteer teaches at Mighty Writers, an organization that works to combat Philadelphia’s literacy crisis.
“About 40 percent of Philadelphia public school students drop out before graduating. Mighty Writers aims to change that statistic by teaching students to communicate with confidence, at school and in life.”
Middle and Upper School Latin Teacher Linda Vizi loves to make quilts for those in need.
“The quilts are either donated to individuals in need of a warm hug or used to raise money for a particular charity.”
In addition to Moorestown Friends, Linda has donated her quilting talent to all of these organizations:
Samaritan Hospice, Susan B. Komen, New Jersey Audubon Society, Quilts for Kids, Project Linus, The ALS Association, Dooley House, Academy of Vocal Arts, Heroes Tournament, Devereux Foundation, American Swedish Historical Museum, Orchard Friends School, and Phillies Charities.
Upper School English Teacher Scott Hammer teaches a volunteer poetry workshop at the Collingswood Public Library.
Lower School Reading Specialist Paula Cunningham volunteers as a Nursing Home Companion for three residents at Kresson View Center, through St Andrew the Apostle Compassionate Outreach. She is also the coordinator for St Andrew’s backpack and school supply collection each August. This year, Paula’s parish collected 75 backpacks for needy students and filled them to the brim with school supplies.
Upper School Math Teacher Sarah Kelly is in the process of becoming a Big Sister through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program. Research has shown that after 18 months of spending time with their Bigs, Little Brothers and Little Sisters are:
- 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
- 52% less likely to skip school
- 37% less likely to skip a class
Sarah also enjoys volunteering with Operation Santa Claus and other local groups.
Athletics Department Administrative Assistant Deb Williams volunteers at the Mt. Laurel Library, where she is on the board for Friends of the Library. Deb is the Vice President and Membership Chairperson.
“We have board meetings each month and four large book sales to raise funds to give to the Library.”
Deb also volunteers on the Library Committee for the Moorestown Friends Meetinghouse.
After School Supervisor Joanne Mitchell volunteers at the Cherry Hill Food Pantry as a Medical Assistant/Dietetic Technician.
“I take the clients’ blood pressures and test their blood sugars. Along with diet and nutrition counseling, it’s an effort to lead our clients to better health and improved quality of life.”
Joanne also enjoys volunteering as a BookMate to three kindergarten children through a Catholic and Jewish interfaith coalition.
Upper School English Teacher Clare Mackenzie volunteers once each week with the Garces Foundation, which funds and provides medical, educational, and nutritional services to Philadelphia’s immigrant community.
“I co-teach an adult ESL class; it’s been a really great way to connect with my community here as I’ve started to get settled in Philadelphia.”
Head Librarian Martha Reilly is an adult literacy volunteer through the Camden County Library System.
Coordinator for Educational and Psychological Services Susan Batastini has been the Co Vice Chair of the South Jersey Aquatic Club of the YMCA for the past three years. The SJAC team works closely with the YMCA to sponsor numerous fundraising and charity events that support families in the community.
Upper School Physics Teacher Tim Clarke, his wife, and their children are in the process of raising their second Seeing Eye Dog foster puppy. The Clarke family also volunteers at St. James School in Philadelphia and at a breakfast ministry in Phoenixville, PA. Tim tutored math, reading, and science at St. James School over the summer. St. James is a faith-based middle school in the Episcopal tradition, committed to educating traditionally under-resourced students.
Chester Reagan Chair Priscilla Taylor-Williams volunteers at Samaritan Hospice, and has helped orchestrate a volunteer relationship between the school and the hospice for over a decade. Together with students in the Hospice and Health Care course, Priscilla promotes awareness of the needs of families, patients, and caregivers facing difficult healthcare or end-of-life decisions. Her students also work with residents of Lutheran Home, supporting staff in their efforts to enhance quality of life for the elderly members of the community.