For the past three years, Local 914 has sponsored 15 children at the Vashti School for Future Leaders, a free after-school program founded by Nicole Washington in 2007. Ms. Nicole, as she is known to the program participants, works as the Youth Development Director at the Newark YMCA, which is how she and Debbie Inverno first met.
Local 914 Spreads Sweet Spring Cheer in Newark
Celebrating the arrival of the Spring season, Local 914’s Community Service Committee Chair Debbie Inverno organized two events to bring smiles and cheer to children at the Vashti School mentoring program in Newark, New Jersey.
Sister Debbie knows well that need knows no season, so the Local 914 Community Service Committee keeps a donation box by the Customer Service time clocks at Terminal C in Newark. They routinely collect non-perishable food and supplies, but Debbie likes to do something special for holidays. In early March, she organized a candy drive for the Vashti School Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. The teens who take part in the program loved the treats, and Debbie gleefully wrote on the local’s Facebook group how great it was to show that “Local 914 will not forget the Vashti School.” When she delivered the treats to Nicole Washington, who directs the after-school program, they began talking about how to spread more cheer for the upcoming Spring celebrations and Easter.
Debbie put out a call for donations for Easter baskets, and Local 914 responded in true Machinists’ “Service to the Community” fashion. After weeks of work, Debbie and fellow committee member Lee Carpenter collected enough candy and small gifts to put together not just 15 baskets for the Vashti School, but also 4 giant baskets with enough treats for 300 children in foster care currently housed at the Newark YMCA.
Debbie made her requests for donations and kept Local 914 members informed on the committee’s progress through regular posts on the local’s Facebook group. “I am thankful for the kindness of my union Brothers and Sisters, and for the support of our leadership, from Shop Stewards, officers, President Bill Gula, and I can always count on our District 141 AGC Rich Creighton and Community Service Director Cristina Odoardi. We worked together to spread a little joy. Thank you!” she wrote.
For the past three years, Local 914 has sponsored 15 children at the Vashti School for Future Leaders, a free after-school program founded by Nicole Washington in 2007. Ms. Nicole, as she is known to the program participants, works as the Youth Development Director at the Newark YMCA, which is how she and Debbie Inverno first met. The two women developed a strong alliance and friendship which has helped identify needs and target some community service activities at the local to reach underserved children and families. The Vashti School of Future Leaders recognized the commitment of the Local 914 members to the program’s mission by presenting them with the Community Impact Business Award, and Debbie Inverno with the Humanitarian Award at their fundraising event in 2019.
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