Local veterans supported by Islip High School

American Legion receives donated funds from P.S I Love You Day


Islip High School teachers Renee DeCrescenzo Clock and Preston Hulse, along with students from the high school, presented a $400 check of proceeds raised from their P.S I Love You Day fundraising to the American Legion Rusy Bohm Post 411.

Created by Brooke and Jaimie DiPalma of West Islip following their father’s suicide, P.S. I Love You Day serves as a reminder to never miss an opportunity to spread love, reinforcing the importance of eradicating the stigma around mental health, and reminding you that you are never alone. Islip High School put a unique spin on P.S. I Love You Day, which is observed on the second Friday of February, by celebrating the occasion all week long to start conversations about the importance of kindness, compassion, acceptance, and taking care of your mental health.

Funds were raised through a variety of channels. Custom Islip P.S. I Love You Day shirts made by DeCrescenzo Clock were sold, while students in STAR (Students Standing Against Racism) Club sold bracelets. Students in Mrs. Horn’s functional academics class made and sold coffee to teachers at their Bucs Brew coffee stand, while students in Hulse’s Family and Consumer Science class made cupcakes and cookies to sell.

The P.S. I Love You Day organization asks those who fundraise to invest 50 percent of funds back into their own program to help fund the following year, and also donate to a local organization that prioritizes mental health awareness.

The American Legion Rusy Bohm Post 411 was chosen to receive the donation to go toward veterans programs and remind the veterans that they are never alone. The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans service organization, and the Rusy Bohm Post 411 in particular sponsors local Boy Scouts, Eagle projects, and Girl Scout gold projects.

Students from Islip High school, Clock, and Hulse donated the $400 check while attending the Legion’s monthly breakfast on Sunday, Feb. 25. On the last Sunday of each month, Rusy Bohm Post 411 hosts a $12 all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet open to the public, where they serve every breakfast food imaginable from 8 to 11 a.m.

“We are donating the check here at the breakfast because I want my students to see what community is, outside of community service, and outside of doing things in the walls of the school,” explained DeCrescenzo Clock. “This shows students how they can be involved in their community, and it is great to have the students and veterans mix to help bridge the intergenerational gap between the youth and our veterans. It shows the veterans that they are so important to us and are not forgotten at all.”

The check was presented to Cmdr. George Hauck by Islip High School students Gavin Williams, Maggie Bacon, and Kishey Nelson, who participate in the school’s First Responders Club and the Junior Chamber of Commerce Club. Along with Clock, the two clubs stayed after school to attach positive messages with magnets onto every locker after school to kick off the P.S I Love You weeklong celebration.

Hauck gave certificates of appreciation on behalf of the American Legion to Clock, Hulse, and the three students, recognizing them for their outstanding service.

“We love our community so much because of people like you who come to these events on Sunday morning and make this so special for us, and make us feel like we are welcomed in our town,” shared Hauck.

Founder and director of Sunrise Counseling Center Rich Scheinberg was also in attendance at the breakfast, where he helped to spread important news about evolving treatments for PTSD.

The New York State Department of the American Legion has provided a $100,000 grant to a NYS nonprofit, the Research and Recognition Project, to train counselors in its new protocol for treating post-traumatic stress known as reconsolidation of traumatic memories (RTM). While the long-regarded optimal treatment of prolonged exposure therapy has a remission rate of 30 to 40 percent, the success rate of RTM is an outstanding 60 percent. Scheinberg shared that Sunrise Counseling Center has therapists trained in RTM that are eager to help local veterans. 


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