Colin Kowalski of Lake Mohawk recently collaborated on a community service project that will positively affect dozens of elementary through middle school students this fall.
Working alongside Sharon Schwarz, a 20-year teacher at Christopher Columbus Middle School in Clifton, N.J., Colin organized a donation drive for high-quality sporting equipment and backpacks filled with essential school supplies for children ages 5 to 15.
Colin, a baseball player at Sparta High School, initiated the team effort. His non-profit organization, Glove of the Game, founded in 2019, seeks to make essential sports equipment accessible to all youth by collecting new gloves, balls, bats, and other goods.
Colin’s operation has consistently delivered on its promise to furnish youth across New Jersey with high-quality items to foster athletic abilities and participation in a wide range of sports.
His recent donations will be used in direct conjunction with the Clifton chapter of the Positive Behavior Support in Schools program, known as PBSIS. The program is a collaborative effort between the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education, and the Boggs Center, and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and has chapters across the state.
According to the PBSIS website, “NJ PBSIS provides comprehensive professional development to support the implementation of tiered interventions for a range of school intervention needs including conduct, behavior and social and emotional wellness.”
Since 2003, she NJ PBSIS annually enrolls a cohort of schools who participate in a three-year professional development experience to design and implement a plan for their tiered intervention system. NJ PBSIS is funded by I.D.E.A. Part B funds.
The generosity of friends
Christopher Columbus Middle School, where Schwarz teaches, is a PBSIS spotlight school, and has been acknowledged for its pioneering and creative approach to the program, as individual schools raise their own money and donations via a myriad of methods. Art teacher Jeff Labriola serves as the PBSIS Universal Team Chair and helped launch the chapter several years ago as the first school in the city of Clifton to do so.
“Our school community was most appreciative of the donations for the PBSIS program,” Labriola said of the recent donation of sports equipment and backpacks. “The program and our students directly benefit from the generosity of friends like Mr. Kowalski.”
The donation will be used to stock a prize cabinet that students may choose from after earning raffle tickets for positive behavior, academic excellence, or kindness.
Schwarz noted that some of the most popular items, and those most difficult to stock include sports equipment and school supplies.
“We have so many fantastic student athletes and academic offerings at Christopher Columbus Middle School,” she said. “Kids get very excited about taking home a brand-new bat, baseball glove, basketball or soccer ball, all of which Collin has worked so diligently to collect and provide for the PBSIS program this coming year.”
Adding to the bevy of athletic donations from Colin’s organization are several dozen fashionable and practical backpacks filled with a wide assortment of school supplies.
As Clifton elementary students make their way excitedly into a new school year, especially post-pandemic, these supplies will be made available to them throughout the first semester this fall. To that end, the timing of Colin’s donation could not be more ideal as families across the nation endured the hardships, both psychological and financial, of the Covid-19 pandemic. They will bring an even greater sense of enthusiasm and excitement to an already highly anticipated start to the school year.
To learn more about Glove of the Game, visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/980647282299405/about.