Maryam Ahmed ’19
On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, Passaic Valley students were commemorated for their outstanding efforts in the Dream Mat Project by the NJDOE at Mercer County Technical School’s Sypek Center in Pennington, New Jersey.
During the month of February, PV participated in its first ever MLK Dream Mat Project, led by Librarian Ms. Leanne Weiss. This project was a community-based service project in which student volunteers, parents, and community members, assembled to create portable sleeping mats for those experiencing homelessness in Passaic County. The mats were constructed from recycled plastic bags (bags collected previous to this project) to provide warmth and protection.
A partnership with Woodland Park’s Alfred H. Baumann Public Library, crafting the Dream Mats initiated “A Day of Service, a Day of Love” on February 14th in PV’s library. An estimated 75 students, including the school’s Interact Club, participated over the course of the day sorting collected plastic bags and weaving them together to create these unique sleeping mats.
Commemorating community members’ efforts, the NJDOE County Superintendents of the New Jersey State Board of Education presented PV with a certificate for their achievements. At the state recognition ceremony, student representative Gabriella Cordova ’20, Superintendent Dr. JoAnn Cardillo, Ms. Weiss, Libraries Director for Woodland Park Ms. Linda Hoffman, Ms. Patricia Joyce from the Alfred H. Baumann Library, and library staff member and PV teacher Ms. Reem Mikhail accepted the award. Leading the students towards success, Weiss, believes that in the future the project will become more successful as time elapses. “Out of the 100 applicants that were nominated for this award, PV was chosen, and I believe that it was a great honor for the school,” Weiss stated.
The NJDOE donated a total of 1,000 plastic bags to the Dream Mats project effort, as well. “I think having big projects like these will bring the community together as well as bringing students in a service-minded setting, where reaching out and helping others is beneficial,” Weiss claimed.