After hearing about the tragic shooting of 20 students and six school staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last week, Larisa Schadt knew she needed to do something.
“It really upset me and I wanted to help and so I went online looking for charity efforts to help the community and the families,” said the 17-year-old Sayville teenager who is studying early childhood education as part of her senior year studies.
She chose the Newtown Memorial Fund which was established to provide a memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, and establish academic scholarships in the victims’ names for classmates and generations of Newtown students to come.
Then Schadt immediately embarked on a three-prong grassroots fundraising effort.
The first phase was launched Monday after creating donation collection boxes and placing them at three Sayville businesses: Butera’s restaurant, Dunkin' Donuts and Sayville Pizza.
Then she headed to a local arts and crafts store to get green and white ribbon spools and began making ribbons of remembrance to sell at school this week.
“I made about 200 and sold nearly half the first day,” she said.
The third phrase was ordering white silicone remembrance bracelets emblazoned with the words 'Rest in Peace Sandy Hook Victims,' which she plans to start selling for a $1 a piece the minute the order arrives.
As of Tuesday afternoon she had already raised nearly $150 in just under 48 hours. There isn’t any specific donation goal, she said, just a desire to help in some way.
“I had to do something,” she said. “I’m trying to do as much as I can.”