Teachers Granted $2,500 for Tolerance Program
Old Farmers Road School educators receive third influx of money for initiative.
For Old Farmers Road School teachers Mary Egan and Tara Ligos, school isn’t just about the teacher-to-pupil relationship. It’s also about kids teaching kids to help each other become self-sufficient, contributing members of society.
That’s where the Pathways for Exceptional Children Include Me! program comes in, implemented by Ligos and Egan three years ago. With an initial $500 grant from the Parent-Teacher Association, the educators were able to start the program at Old Farmers and have never looked back.
“The (Include Me!) philosophy supports our school motto of ‘Caring is Cool at Old Farmers Road School,’” Egan said. “This program has really expanded through the leadership of our students and their desire to follow through with the inclusionary vision. It truly is ‘kids teaching kids.’”
Earlier this month, it was announced Egan and Ligos received a $2,500 CVS/Caremark Pharmacy grant to put toward the initiative. This is the third–and largest–grant the teachers procured for the program; the first coming in September 2011 and the second in September 2012, both for $1,000.
The most recent influx of funds will be put toward fourth-grade students learning and understanding the program, the teachers said.
“Our hope is to expand the Include Me program district-wide with continued collaboration and growth of programs with the Washington Township Recreation Department,” Egan said. “Our goal is for future expansion into West Morris Central as our Include Me peer mentors transition into the high school. After school activities, within the schools and the community, is another main focus of the Include Me initiative. With this additional $2,500 grant, we can hopefully make those programs become a reality.”
The Include Me program empowers all children to become leaders of positive change within the schools and community, Egan said. “The change is to embrace diversity and practice tolerance and acceptance.”