True Blue to the Heartbeat

Students at Syosset High School learned a valuable lesson on the power they have to enact change and make an impact when the school held its annual “True Blue Day” celebration, in conjunction with the Thanksgiving holiday, as a reminder to be grateful for all one has.

Coordinated by the school’s Interact Club, True Blue Day is designed to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their lives, consider all they have to be thankful for, and help others in need. Last year, Interact sold “True Blue” T-shirts as a fundraiser for the day. Some members felt that perhaps student closets are becoming inundated with school-related clothes, so this year, they selected a different symbol of support for sale: a dog tag.

Building on the overwhelming success of last year’s districtwide campaign, titled “7 in 7,” Interact students created a new yearlong initiative: Mission Heartbeat. The goal was to raise enough money for the Gift of Life organization to support funding a team of doctors and nurses to perform as many as 20 to 30 cardiac surgeries on children in need. In doing so, Gift of Life teaches local surgeons and hospital staff cutting-edge medical techniques and empowers the host countries to save their own children in the future.
Interact officers came up with the idea for the Mission Heartbeat campaign and its tagline, “Saving children’s lives one little heart at a time.” Members then asked students and staff to purchase the Mission Heartbeat dog tags for $5 each, with the proceeds going to the Gift for Life cause. Several teachers graciously volunteered their time to help sell the dog tags to their colleagues, as well. Thanks to everyone’s collaborative efforts, the initial supply sold out quickly and an additional 300 tags were ordered for sale. Altogether, nearly $2,000 was raised for Gift of Life during True Blue.

For more than 10 years, Interact has been coordinating efforts that have raised more than $200,000 for Gift of Life. Interact has also conducted food drives for Rock CAN Roll, is currently conducting a toy drive and will be holding a holiday baking event to benefit Mercy First. Additionally, they will also be hosting a party for differently-abled students through the Town of Oyster Bay’s Group Activities Program. For next semester, Interact will conduct a bagel breakfast, a bowl-a-thon and a cupcake war, all in support of Mission Heartbeat.

The Syosset High School Interact co-advisers are Stacey Balducci and Carisa Steinberg. Pictured (From left) Balducci, Dara Elpren, Rahul Chaudhry, Peri Lund, Katy Segall, Adam Canarick, Haley Silverman, Alyssa Hirani, and Steinberg.