Author Laura Schroff Visits School and Inspires Service
One Good Deed that Changed the Lives of Many
November 13, 2013
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Do you believe in the concept of an invisible thread that links the lives of two people?
Laura Schroff is a believer after a series of events intertwined her life with that of an 11-year-old panhandler named Maurice Mazyck.
Schroff, a busy advertising executive living in New York City, found her life connected with that of an 11-year-old panhandler named Maurice Mazyck. Their relationship, which has spanned over 20 years, isthe basis for her novel An Invisible Thread, the 2013 One Book selection. The novel promoted the simple yet powerful message that one simple act of kindness can change lives more than one could ever imagine.
In addition to the classroom activities based on the summer reading, the school invited Schroff to visit, an invitation that she graciously accepted. She addressed students, parents, faculty, and community members after Back-To-School Night activities on Thursday, September 26, and then spoke to the entire student body in two assemblies on Friday, September 27.
Mrs. MaryAnn Meehan, an English teacher who advises Student Council, had a role in organizing Schroff’s visit.
“I participate in a book club where they read An Invisible Thread, and a member of the book club was a good friend of Laura,” she said. “Laura is the reminder that you can reach out to others”
Ms. AnnMarie Wanecski, a special education teacher, was also extremely touched by the story.
“After reading An Invisible Thread, I felt an urge to contact Laura and let her know how much her acts of kindness moved me.”
These connections, along with a few other “invisible threads,” led to Schroff’s visit.
Students shared their thoughts about the author visit.
“I thought it was a good thing for her visit. Many kids are just focused on themselves, not other people,” said senior Chase Ballas. “I appreciated her visit because she promoted a good idea without bragging.”
Senior Alma Albarran said Schroff’s message was good for the school and community.
“She did a good deed, but it did not change my view,” Albarran said. “I would have already helped someone anyway because it is the right thing to do. I do think that ‘doing the right thing’ is always a good message to spread.”
Several events occurred before Schroff’s visit to promote her message of kindness and community service. On Thursday, September 19, local restaurants participated in “Dine Out to Help Out” and donated a portion of their proceeds to Hammonton Helps, a charitable organization whose purpose is to provide temporary help to the needy while serving as a liaison with other organizations who can provide the additional short term and/or long term care and assistance that may be necessary.
The Student Council held a Fall Festival during gym classes on Tuesday, September 24, to raise money for Hammonton Helps as well. Students donated a dollar, were exempt from getting dressed for gym, and played a variety of games and other activities. They raised over $1000 dollars.