PITTSBURGH, PA – Students from Quaker Valley High School received an award yesterday for their work with Pressley Ridge, a nonprofit organization that serves children and families, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Western Pennsylvania Chapter (AFP-WPA).
“We are very appreciative that the Quaker Valley students have embraced Pressley Ridge to help raise funds and community awareness of our work with troubled children and families,” said B. Scott Finnell, Ph.D., LCSW, president and CEO of Pressley Ridge. “Their leadership and dedication should serve as an example of how young people can make a difference in the lives of others.”
Quaker Valley students received the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award for their generosity, initiative, leadership and motivation. More than eight years ago, Quaker Valley students began working with Pressley Ridge on the “Empty Bowls Dinner.” The event helped raise awareness of hunger and featured ceramic bowls created by Pressley Ridge students.
This joint effort led to the start of a “Pen Pal” project three years later between Quaker Valley and Pressley Ridge students that included exchanging letters and raising money to cover the cost of shared activities, such as ice skating and picnics.
“The day those first letters arrive is often a turning point for our students,” said Mary Lynn Pleczkowski, Pressley Ridge curriculum specialist. “Many of our students do not have a strong family system. This project lets them know that they matter. It also helps build long-lasting relationships between the students.”
Pressley Ridge’s relationship with students at Quaker Valley High School extends beyond fundraising to include internships, networking and securing in-kind donations, such as clothing and grocery store gift cards.
“This partnership will benefit Pressley Ridge for years to come,” said Finnell. “The students are learning about what we do and how they can make a difference. They also are learning that their feelings, needs and challenges are very similar to the students at Pressley Ridge – all children matter.”