Mater Dei Prep Welcomes Harbor School To Heavenly Hope Fun Day

On Thursday, May 3, 2018, Mater Dei Prep continued the tradition of hosting Heavenly Hope Fun Day, a student-run service program for children and young adults with special needs. The project was started in 2012 by Taralynn Vecchio (MDP ’13) and has been run by a Mater Dei Prep student every year since. Heavenly Hope Fun Day gives the participants a break from their regular routine with a whole day of fun games and activities while bonding with fellow Mater Dei Prep students as they give back to the community.

Ms. Vecchio had a love for working with special needs children and found that the Mater Dei Prep community supported and encouraged her mission. After successfully running Heavenly Hope Fun Day for two years, Ms. Vecchio passed down the honored tradition to Seraph students. Over the past four years Erin Caddock (MDP'14), Maggie Klatt (MDP‘16), and Jennifer Quigley (MDP’17) have coordinated the program and helped the program thrive. This year the event was organized by Valerie Zoda (MDP’18) and Heather Dorney (MDP’18) with the help of over 35 student volunteers.

“Heavenly Hope Fun Day was a tremendous success! I was ecstatic to see all the students dancing, playing, and having a wonderful time. I am thrilled the event turned out so well because I really wanted to follow in the footsteps of Jen and Maggie. It was an honor to continue this wonderful tradition and give the students from Harbor School a wonderful day,” said Valerie Zoda (MDP’18).

Mater Dei Prep students organize and run the entire event. This year’s Fun Day took place in Memorial Hall and included commemorative t-shirts, a DJ, snow cone and cotton candy machines, basketball and bowling games, arts and crafts, face painting and temporary tattoos. The day would not be possible without help from many local sponsors, including Joseph T. Buzzanco D.M.D., In-A-Flash Photography, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, Victor Zando Foundation, Pat’s Painting, Inflatable Adventures, No Limit Entertainment, Lighthouse, Naples Pizza, Duck Donuts, and We Are Fusion.

Heather Dorney (MDP’18) always had a love for working with children with special needs. “Working with children with special needs has always been a passion of mine. My cousin has special needs and I have been working with special needs students since sixth grade. Helping the kids today have fun and making them feel like they belong truly made a difference in their lives. We all have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life and be the change. Mater Dei Prep instills a strong value of community service in their students which is one of the many reasons why Mater Dei Prep is so great,” said Heather Dorney.

This year’s participants came from Harbor School in Eatontown. The Mater Dei Prep volunteers valued their time giving back to the students and witnessed first-hand how their actions can bring true happiness to others. Go Seraphs!

For more information or to sponsor or participate in Heavenly Hope Fun Day 2019, please call 732.671.9100 or contact Margaret Cahill, Mater Dei Prep Community Service Coordinator, at

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Mater Dei Prep

Mater Dei Prep

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Phone 732-671-9100  Fax 732-671-9214

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