Want To Donate To A Worthwhile Cause In The New Year?

Want To Donate To A Worthwhile Cause In The New Year?

Why you should get involved with the Nyack Penguin Plunge.

Welcome to 2017! Since the New Year is upon us, chances are that many people have made a New Year’s resolution. For most, it is probably to lose weight or to spend more time with friends and family, For some, though, their resolution might be something more along the lines of wanting to give back to the community or donate more to a worthwhile cause. If this is the case, there is one nonprofit organization that is incredibly deserving of support.

This past semester, I was lucky enough to have been able to work with the Nyack Penguin Plunge as part of my public relations class. Over the course of the semester, my class worked for the Penguin Plunge, planning two events for them to help increase their exposure and raise money for the children they sponsor each year.

For those of you who do not know, Penguin Plunge Inc. is a nonprofit organization that helps the families of three seriously ill local children each year in meeting their medical and support costs as they focus on their children's health. The organization was started in 2008 by Barbra Noyes and Mike Lynch, and has raised over $300,000 for their sponsored children over the course of the past ten plunges. The Penguin Plunge is their main annual event that gives people the opportunity to take a memorable dip into the icy waters of the Hudson while raising money for a good cause; however, the organization also holds a variety of events in restaurants, businesses, and schools in the area, leading up to the Plunge to help fundraise as much money as they can for the children and their families each year.

This year, the nonprofit organization is celebrating their tenth anniversary year. While there is so much good surrounding the Penguin Plunge to focus on, it is probably most important to get to know the three special children being sponsored this year:

1) Molly McGovern, 18, of Blauvelt

When Molly was 14 months old, she was diagnosed with pineoblastoma, which is a type of malignant brain tumor. After undergoing surgery and chemotherapy with autologous stem cell rescue, she made a full recovery. Early this year, however, it was discovered that Molly had a large mass pressing on her brain stem. Once again, the underwent surgery and 90% of the tumor was removed. She then received gamma knife radiation get rid of the remainder of the tumor, which left her with some paralysis in her face and hearing loss. Molly will need to receive services to help her to recover what she has lost, and will be under constant surveillance by her doctors to make sure the tumor is not growing back.

2) Gabriella Carney, 2, of Tappan

Gabriella lives with a rare genetic liver disease called Glycogen Storage Disease, or GSD. GSD causes critically low blood sugar that can drop very quickly without warning, leading her to need constant management of her blood sugar to prevent life threatening issues. Since being diagnosed in September 2015, Gabriella has had persistent low blood sugar, leading to multiple hospitalizations. Her parents need to monitor her very closely, including checking her blood sugar and ketones no less than eight times a day. Gabriella also drinks large amounts of cornstarch and protein powder every few hours as a backup source of energy for her body. She currently goes for yearly liver sonograms and routine blood work every three months.

3) Noah Diaz, 5, of Congers

Noah was born with a severe heart condition, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Double Aortic Arch, resulting in him already undergoing three open heart surgeries. He also has Kabuki, a rare genetic syndrome with developmental delays, generalized hypotonia, and hypoglycemia episodes. Consequently, Noah needs extensive medical treatments, including monthly EKGs to monitor his heart. Eventually, Noah will need a heart transplant when he is older, because, now, even a cold can cause him to need doctor visits and oxygen treatments. He currently goes through numerous therapies to help with his development and muscle tone.

In working with the Penguin Plunge, I learned that Barbra and Mike, as well as everyone else involved with the organization, are truly selfless people who do all they can to give back to their community, and are beyond dedicated to raising as much money as possible for their three children and families each year. It is truly a special organization that is more than deserving for one to dedicate their time to, or to simply make a donation to. So, if this year, you want a resolution that will not only benefit yourself, but others too, consider getting involved with the Penguin Plunge, and I can promise you that you will see how worth your while it is.

To learn more about the Penguin Plunge, including upcoming events, how to donate or sign up for the plunge, visit their website at www.penguinplungeny.com . You can also like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PenguinPlungeNY/

, or follow them on Twitter: @NyackPlunge and Instagram: @nyackpenguinplunge .
Cover Image Credit: Penguin Plunge

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.


1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten

Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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Why I've Never Not Had A Valentine

It's the day of love. It does not mean it has to be romantic.


If my memory serves me correctly, I have always had a valentine. By that, I don't mean that I have had a boyfriend every single year since I was five.

In Spanish, Valentine's Day is also referred to as "Dia del Amor y la Amistad", which translates to the day of love and friendship. I'm not a big fan of the holiday, because to me someone should show me love every single day, not only one specific day because "everybody else is doing it".

On that note, however, I have always had a valentine. In elementary school, we celebrated the holiday and everyone was each other's valentines. Even that girl (the one who stole your game that you won on Friday because you accumulated enough points to pick it from the prize box) would be your valentine.

In middle school, my grandpa or dad would get me those little chocolate hearts, which are about a dollar at Walmart. I don't recall ever going without one. Then, the next day they'd take me to stock up on candy because of price drops!

In high school, once my friends got their driver's licenses and part-time jobs, we'd finish classes and go to Highway 55 and celebrate Galentine's Day or stock up on cheat day food and go to the park. This year we've all gone our separate ways. We've gone to different schools and maybe communication was just lost, but I'm so thankful for the memories I have with everyone.

This year I'm my own valentine, (which no, it is not shameful) because I learned to love myself enough to celebrate it with myself. Love doesn't always have to be romantic, it does not always mean dinner dates and engagement proposals. Love means calling your mom, your dad, or grandma and wishing them a happy Valentine's Day. It means telling your friends that you're proud of them.

Love means recognizing yeah, it's been a hell of a week, but you got through it. Valentine's Day sometimes means going to your nearest Target, grabbing a bottle of cocktail juice, and putting on a face-mask while catching up on your favorite TV show. Valentine's Day is so generalized to be about romantic love that some people feel alone. You really shouldn't.

If you feel alone, just remember someone loves you for you and maybe it's not your time for romance. If that doesn't help, then I count as your valentine.

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