Neighborhood News: SWR’s Kenya trip comes to an end

Shoreham-Wading River School District Superintendent Steven Cohen, left, and school board president Bill McGrath. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)
Shoreham-Wading River School District Superintendent Steven Cohen, left, and school board president Bill McGrath. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson)

Joanne Durkin, parishioner at St. John the Baptist Church in Wading River, has a grandson, Alec, who recently went on a trip to Haiti with members of Mattituck Presbyterian Church. At the last LIFT (Love Inspired Feminine Talks) meeting, held in St. John the Baptist’s parish hall, those who went on the trip discussed their experiences.

They brought much needed supplies with them to Haiti and helped out with a reverse osmosis water purification system. The next LIFT gathering will be on Wednesday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the parish hall. All are welcome to attend. Come share in some fellowship, music and prayer. Refreshments will be served. Bring a friend and mark May 10 on your calendar for the annual LIFT retreat.

Sid Bail, president of the Wading River Civic Association, invites the community to its next meeting on Thursday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Wading River Congregational Church. Riverhead Town Councilman George Gabrielsen will speak about the town’s ambitious agenda that includes renewable energy proposals of a 90-acre EPCAL Energy Park in Calverton as well as a solar and fuel cell storage proposal. The meeting is open to the public. All are encouraged to attend.

Liz Taggart_BwAfter six successful trips, SWR high school students in Mr. Mann’s Global Awareness Club will not make the expedition this year to Kenya to visit the children of the Jerusha Mwiraria Hope Children’s Home. In the past, the trip was made possible by the Hope Children’s Fund organization, which provides children in Kenya with a home and a future. Mr. Mann and his wife, Aida, led the trips. The concept of the trip is “the cornerstone of the Global Club’s work.” The students have worked hard to raise thousands of dollars to help provide food, clothing, shelter and educational opportunities for the orphans of Meru who reside in the home. The students have helped build rabbit hutches, dig a fish pond and complete a technical training center. In the past, students’ absences from school have been allowed and Mr. Mann was permitted to use personal and professional days to attend. Members of the current Board of Education have decided they would continue to excuse student absences but were unable to grant Mr. Mann the professional days needed. The board stated, “Allowing Mr. Mann to use professional days would make it a school trip, thereby making the school responsible for whatever occurs while the students are away.” Julia Lindell, who has gone on three trips to Kenya, said, “The children at the home cry hysterically when we leave and then look forward to us coming again all year. It breaks my heart to think of how upset they are going to be.” Board president Dr. McGrath feels the situation is sad and that “there are no winners here.” The board urges students to come to the meetings and let their voices be heard. “We want input,” he said.

Be well, happy and healthy until we meet back here in two weeks.

Contact Elizabeth Taggart at [email protected] or 929-5933.