'Snow Angels' Poised to Help Seniors

Angels will be out shoveling snow when it falls again.

Nancy Drake and her snow angel, Emma DeSantis (Photo: Fair Haven schools)
Nancy Drake and her snow angel, Emma DeSantis (Photo: Fair Haven schools)

Yes, there are snow angels in Fair Haven.

Sometimes people see them. Sometimes they don't. But they know they've been around when the snow falls and paths are cleared for the seniors in town.

They're shovel-wielding sixth through eight graders who are part of what's called the Be A Good Neighbor (BAGN) program. It all started at the urging of then-mayor Joe Szostak to get Fair Haven's seniors paired with angels who are charged with making sure their snow is removed.

More than 70 students from Knollwood School are currently enrolled. And this year alone, 40 seniors signed up for the angels' help and were paired with them. The program and its angels especially help those whose children are living too far away to get to their parents and lend a shovel.

"My mom Nancy Drake was shoveling her front walk when along came a delightful young lady, Emma DeSantis, who said that she was assigned to assist my mom," said Robin Drake Fitch whose mother, Nancy, has lived in Fair Haven most of her life. "Emma finished shoveling the walk and also cleared a path to the garage.

"Living two hours away and buried under two feet of snow myself,  I was so grateful to know that mom lives in Fair Haven with angels disguised as good neighbors."

Here's how it works: Knollwood Health Teacher Byron Williams presents information about the program to students and distributes and collects the sign-up sheets and permission slips.

Longtime Fair Havenite and senior Ruth Blaser, who has been a volunteer with the Be A Good Neighbor Program since its inception, acts as the liaison between Williams and the Be A Good Neighbor Committee.

Program Administrator Susan Blackwood communicates with the volunteering students and their families, and also assigns students to participating seniors.

"It's wonderful for the seniors, some of whom would not be able to stay in their homes without the help of the students in the program," said Blaser. "And for the students, it provides a community service opportunity as well as a chance to get to know their neighbors."

At the end of the winter season, the seniors organize and attend a pizza luncheon for participating students. Nancy Drake looks forward to spending some quality time with her "Snow Angel" at the pizza luncheon.

"Emma has been so kind and helpful to me," said Drake."I guess sometimes it pays to be the 'little old lady' of the block."

All of the participating students will also receive a Certificate of Appreciation from Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli at the end of the school year.

If you are or know of a senior who needs help with the coming snowfall, Lucarelli advised that you call the police station at 732-747-0991 and ask for Sgt. Sherri Lambert, who organizes a routine check on seniors and in bad weather and emergency situations.


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