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Spreading Smiles One Letter at a Time

November 06, 2018

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Richard Schwartz's fifth grade class at Abbey Lane Elementary School wanted to give back in a big way during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. What started out as a small idea quickly sparked into something even more significant. Students decided to write letters to those affected by breast cancer during the month of October. They named their letter writing campaign "The Schwartzville Project" and by the end of the month, hit their goal of writing 100 letters to people not only just in the United States but also to England and Ireland.

Mr. Schwartz's class hosted a pink bagel breakfast on Oct. 30 to honor some of the letter recipients. Dressed in light pink T-shirts, the students handed out roses to approximately 20 breast cancer survivors and those affected by the disease who attended the event. The breakfast allowed some of the students to meet the person they wrote their letters to. Letters were displayed around the school gymnasium and the space was decorated with pink balloons and Breast Cancer Awareness ribbons. Principal Dr. George Maurer opened the event by welcoming the honorary guests and their loved ones.

"With the project that you are about to see, we are teaching kids things that are so important and so needed in our world today; compassion, kindness and empathy," he said. "We are so proud of our students and Mr. Schwartz because under his direction, a very small seed of an idea has really blossomed into a very special project."

Mr. Schwartz presented a video that the students created which highlighted the breast cancer research that the class conducted while they wrote their letters. Attendees were invited to enjoy pink bagels, baked goods, pink lemonade and coffee during the event as they walked around with their letter writer. Many of the survivors were touched by the students' words and gracious hearts.

"It is an amazing program that they are doing," said breast cancer survivor and Abbey Lane graduate Karen Guerra, who received a letter from fifth-grader Kelsey Defreitas. "Kelsey's letter makes me feel so very special and I think it's great that they are learning about this."

The class is hoping that "The Schwartzville Project" will expand into other classrooms and schools to help bring a smile to those affected by breast cancer.

"We want everyone to do it because breast cancer awareness is really important. People are battling and some are survivors," said fifth-grader Iverson Aquino. "They are role models for others."

To learn more about "The Schwartzville Project" and how you can get involved, please visit www.schwartzvilleproject.com.

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