By Janie Rosman
It was a slam dunk when the Harlem Wizards took on all-star teams of teachers from Coman Hill, Wampus and H.C. Crittenden last September, dazzling and entertaining with tricks and humorous interactive games thanks to the Byram Hills Education Foundation (BHEF).
The basketball spectacular and the spring gala are BHEF’s two annual fundraising events. Save the date, March 23, for this year’s gala, which takes place at Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase.
Since its formation in 1994, BHEF raised more than $4 million for more than 349 grants impacting more than 6,000 local students, thanks to the generosity and support from families, local businesses and the Armonk Chamber of Commerce and two annual fundraising events.
Its financial support to the district enables teacher and administrators to introduce creative programs and equipment beyond what is covered within the district’s annual operating budget.
“One of my goals is to make people more aware of the BHEF and the integral part it plays in our school district,” emphasized Shari Fruhling, President, BHEF.
Last September, BHEF introduced a free wellness movie series hosted at the high school. The first, Screenagers, a 2016 documentary about growing up in the digital age, drew an audience of more than 300 students and parents, Fruhling said. Close to 200 people came out on a cold January night to see Angst, an hour-long film discussing and debunking misconceptions about and treatments for anxiety disorders.
“The films prompt discussions at home and at school the next day,” she said of the thought-provoking choices. A date for its third film, Finding Kind, 2001, about two friends traveling across the United States to expose truth about girl-on-girl crime, is tentatively scheduled for mid-April.
Fruhling said this year’s grant, the Wellness Initiative, “focuses on the wellness of the whole student, mind and body and impacts all four schools with a designated Indoor Creative Play space, an outdoor Obstacle Course for the elementary schools; a space for yoga, meditation and relaxation in the middle school and a lounge space for the high school.”
“These are supported by a Stanford Survey to determine stress levels and create a comprehensive and impactful way of managing and mitigating stress on our student population. The BHEF is proud to be a part of this groundbreaking change in education,” she said.
Byram Hills CSD Superintendent Jen Lamia called BHEF “integral in our district’s history and future. “In the past five years alone, the BHEF has supported projects to revitalize our libraries into 21st century learning spaces, provided 1:1 technology for all students and is now undertaking a K-12 Wellness Initiative to benefit all students.”
BHEF’s support “means that every child in every school is provided with every opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive,” Lamia said. Fruhling noted, “There are so many grants the BHEF has funded that parents sometimes don’t realize that they are not part of the district’s budget.”
These include SMARTboards, Chromebooks and Library 2.0 and, most recently the motivational speaker Shaun Derik for this past Byram Hills High School’s Wellness Day.
Two annual events–the fall Harlem Wizards’ dazzling and entertaining basketball court show and the spring fundraiser–celebrate and raise support for education.
Money raised for the spring event journal will also go toward funding the grants. Tickets are available until March 23; for information, www.byramhillsfoundation.org.
Janie Rosman is a freelance writer and editor whose work appears in local and regional publications. She chronicles the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project at Kaleidoscope Eyes