Student members of the Byron-Bergen Builders Club with Byron Kiwanis Club sponsors and RRH’s David Catalino (right), who gave the group a tour of the recreation center.
Submitted photo and press release:
On May 23, Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School Builders Club members presented a check for $500 to representatives from Rochester Regional Health’s Behavioral Health Treatment and Chemical Dependency Center at Unity Hospital.
Led by Builders Club president, 10th-grader Jacey Donahue, the student delegation was welcomed to the Center by community relations managers Tiffany Carnevale, Valerie Donnelly and Brad Pearson from the RRH Gifts Foundation, along with Center Manager Jennifer Esten, supervisor Kristen Weber and Recreation Director David Catalino.
The group was accompanied by Byron-Bergen teacher and faculty advisor Andrea Feeney and Byron Kiwanis Club sponsors Robert Wood and President Karen Jaczynski.
Members of the Builders Club, who range in age from 7 to 15, have been working hard in their community this year, helping others and raising money through coin collection and raffles.
After researching a number of local organizations, the group decided to donate their funds to the Chemical Dependency Center.
After the ceremony, the group learned more about the operations at the organization and then toured the recreation center, where their money will be put to use purchasing new equipment.
Supervisor Weber explained the importance of exercise at the Center.
“Many people in recovery have not experienced fun, sober activities for a very long time," Weber said. "The exercise and recreation equipment we can purchase with the help of Builders Club funds will aid patients in setting and achieving goals for themselves.
"Thanks to these young people, our patients will build confidence that they can persevere and better their lives.”
Builders Club Member Hannah Catalino (the daughter of the Center’s recreation director), strongly advocated for supporting the organization’s work. She and the other members recognized that the Byron-Bergen community, like many others, is experiencing the problem of substance abuse, affecting fellow students and their families.
Earlier this year, they created handmade cards for the Center to help inspire and motivate recovering patients.
“I think what the Center does is important,” Hannah said. “I see how deeply the people here care for patients. They all feel it in their hearts and we in the Club do, too. We all wanted to help.”
Builders Club has been active at Byron-Bergen Jr./Sr. High School for three years and has about a dozen members. The group began at the Middle School, but has expanded the opportunity to all students in the district who are willing to make the commitment to service.
This year, they’ve volunteered for the Salvation Army and at the Miracle Mile for the Golisano Children's Hospital. They’ve participated in hurricane relief efforts for Puerto Rico and at the Elementary School’s Fall Festival. They can also be seen helping out at community pancake breakfasts.
“Byron-Bergen is a NYS School District of Character and our students support many activities that promote character,” said Club Advisor Feeney. “Builders Club supports the development of character and leadership.
"Everything members do during the year is their idea and their choice. They choose to give back, to better their community and to aid those in need.”
The Byron-Bergen Builders Club members are: Sarah Fraser, Liam Feeney, Andrea Feeney, Jacey Donahue, Hannah Catalino, Claire Williams, Logan Lewis, Robert Wood, Courtney Pakusch, Evan Harter and Karen Jaczynski.