Each spring, Mater Dei Prep hosts Heavenly Hope Fun Day, a student-run service program for children and young adults with special needs. The project, begun in 2012 by then Mater Dei Prep junior Taralynn Vecchio (MDP ’13), gives the participants a break from their regular routine with a whole day of games and activities.
Ms. Vecchio had a love for working with special needs children and found that the Mater Dei Prep community supported and encouraged her mission. Upon graduation, Ms. Vecchio passed the mantle to Erin Caddock ('14) and Maggie Klatt (‘16). For the past two years Ms. Klatt has run the event with the help of over 45 other student volunteers.
Mater Dei Prep students organize and run the entire event. This year’s Fun Day, which took place on Friday, May 20 in Memorial Hall, included commemorative t-shirts, a DJ, snow cone and cotton candy machines, basketball and bowling games, arts and crafts, a photo booth, and face painting and temporary tattoos. The day would not be possible without help from many local sponsors, including No Limit Entertainment, the Victor Zando Foundation, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Chiafullo’s Pizzeria.
According to Ms. Klatt, “This year's event was a huge success thanks to the countless sponsors and volunteers. Although the day is an enormous undertaking, seeing the kids smiling and having a blast makes the stress worthwhile.”
This year’s participants came from Harbor School in Eatontown. The Mater Dei Prep volunteers learned a lot about enjoying life from the Harbor School students and appreciated seeing the difference they made during Fun Day.
Two Mater Dei Prep underclassmen, Jennifer Quigley and Kelly Sullivan, both juniors, have already stepped in to chair next year’s Fun Day since Ms. Klatt is graduating in June.
For more information or to sponsor or participate in Heavenly Hope Fun Day 2017, please call 732.671.9100 or contact Margaret Cahill, Mater Dei Prep Community Service Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.