Students put in more than their two cents to fight poverty

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:50

    SPARTA-Rhiannon Norton, a student at Sparta Middle School, had heard of Project Self-Sufficiency through her Mother-Daughter Book Club. At the agency's annual "A Taste of Talent" fundraiser in April, Rhiannon learned about its services for single parents, teen parents, displaced homemakers and their children, and decided she wanted to help. "That's when I got really interested in Project Self-Sufficiency," says Rhiannon. "I wanted to get involved because I thought it was such a good cause." It wasn't long before she sprang into action. Shortly after the event, Rhiannon enlisted her friend and fellow student council member Jordan Pszonek, and teachers Dawn Blanos and Carol Russin, in her mission to raise money for Project Self-Sufficiency. Jordan and Rhiannon spread the word to their fellow students, and asked each of them to contribute a dime to the nonprofit agency. Money was collected in homeroom, and within a few weeks the total reached $100, meaning almost every single student at Sparta Middle School participated in their campaign. "I am truly touched and amazed by what Rhiannon and Jordan have accomplished," says Deborah Berry-Toon. "That these young ladies had the ingenuity to come up with such a unique fundraising idea, and that they had the leadership skills to not only make their idea happen, but inspire their entire school to join in, is remarkable." The funds collected at Sparta Middle School will benefit Project Self-Sufficiency's comprehensive services for Sussex County single parents, teen parents, displaced homemakers and children. Since 1986, the agency has assisted over 15,000 families in improving the quality of their lives through services including case management, counseling, GED/ESL/ABE education, job training and placement, family literacy training, legal assistance, life skills training, parenting education, childcare assistance, basic needs assistance and more.