By SANDY SEOANE, Valley Breeze Staff Writer
Participants in the Woonsocket Kids Klub program present a check for $1,712 to Matt Moylan, president of the George Nasuti Scholarship fund. The kids raised the money at various events throughout the summer as part of the program’s civic-minded curriculum. (Valley Breeze photo by Sandy Seoane)
WOONSOCKET – At a summer learning program focused on promoting good citizenship, teachers and mentors point to both the cause, and the man whose memory it honors, in teaching kids about giving back.
The kindergarten through 5th-grade students in the Woonsocket Kids Klub raised $1,722 for the George Nasuti Scholarship Fund this summer, presenting a check to the late athletic director’s nephew at a celebration on Aug. 6.
“He was a great man who helped a lot of people in Woonsocket,” teacher Don Poli told the kids of Nasuti, a beloved local educator and coach who died last year. “He saved the athletic program in Woonsocket. Without him, Woonsocket wouldn’t be what it is.” The roughly 80 kids in the program – operated in collaboration with the Woonsocket Education Department – raised the money throughout a six-week summer camp with events including a car wash and other fundraising activities. It is the 4th consecutive year that the program receives funding from Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative and the United Way and this year a $30,000 grant helped to fund the camp’s ongoing activities including field trips and service learning projects focused on civic-mindedness and citizenship.
Each year, program directors allow students to choose a different project to help the community, and in 2013, the young philanthropists ran a bake sale and lemonade stand to raise funds for Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
In 2014 and 2015, the kids chose the George Nasuti Memorial Scholarship Fund and on Thursday, the students presented Nasuti’s nephew, Matt Moylan, who serves as president of the organization, with a check from their impressive efforts. “You’ve done something amazing and you made us very proud,” Poli told the students this week. “You worked so hard on 90 degree days in the sun for someone you might not know. The hard work that you did just shows the size of the hearts in those little tiny bodies of yours.”
Started in 1987, Kids Klub is an extended day learning program for before and after school care that currently operates in North Providence, North Smithfield and Woonsocket serving approximately 350 students. During out-of school months, the program runs five days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the goal of mitigating summer learning loss.
The grant has allowed for maintenance and expansion of the popular program, paying for everything from trips to the Woonsocket education teachers who lead structured activities. “It definitely allowed us to increase the educational component,” said Amy Vogel, COO of Kids Klub.
As part of the fundraising project, the kids created kits with supplies from Home Depot and sold the items at Walgreens, Stop & Shop and Coffee and Cream.
“We have huge, huge support from the community,” Vogel noted. “The community partners are amazing, which is really key to making anything successful,” Poli agreed.
The Nasuti scholarship program awards college tuition money annually to four graduating seniors from Woonsocket High School, Woonsocket Area Career & Technical Center, Beacon Charter High School or North Smithfield High School. “These scholarships are reserved for students who have shown an extraordinary commitment to community service and who have demonstrated creativity in shaping their volunteer activities,” the fundraising website explains.
The fund also pays for several camperships for local kids at the MacColl YMCA.
To learn more about Kids Klub visit kidsklubri.com or follow the organization on Facebook.