The “power of one” in this case, turned into the power of two.
In 2013, James Hoehn and Antonio Pecoraro were part of a team of Shaker High School students who organized a school concert to raise money for the International Refugee Committee. As 10th grade students, they were able to raise more than $600 to assist Syrian refugees. Fast forward three years, Hoehn and Pecoraro, as students in Thea MacFawn and Kelly Wetherbee’s Human Rights class, raised triple that amount by organizing a community walk for Syrian refugees.
“Instead of it being just a school event, we wanted it to be a community event,” said Pecoraro.
Both seniors were nominated by Kelly Wetherbee for North Colonie Kids Care.
“These young men have a commitment to raising awareness and advocating for those suffering as a result of the conflict in Syria,” she said.
The walk was held at The Crossings of Colonie, and raised over $1,500. The funds will be used to purchase one Shelter Box, which will be delivered to refugees displaced as a result of the crisis in Syria. The goal of a Shelter Box is to deliver humanitarian relief in the form of equipment and materials that bring shelter, warmth and dignity to people made homeless by natural or other humanitarian disasters.
“In 10th grade we raised $600, and now we tripled that,” said Hoehn. “It’s a pretty big accomplishment to be able to help these people, knowing what they’re going through over there.”
Hoehn and Pecoraro began planning for the event in November of 2015. They received approval from Principal Murphy, set up a GoFundMe account, and scheduled the event with The Crossings. They were also able to gain sponsorship from several local retail outlets to help pay for water and t-shirts for the walk.
“We’re pretty proud of this,” said Pecoraro. “We’re only 17 and we put this walk on.”
“I think a lot of times people think, oh, I’m just one person, I can’t make a difference,” added Hoehn. “But that’s not true. In our case, two people were able to put on this walk and help 15 people who don’t have homes and give them a tent, shelter, and food. I think if you really put your heads together and plan out what you want to do, you can accomplish a lot. You just have to have the mindset to go for it.”