The Elijah Straw Memorial Fund

The Elijah Straw Memorial Fund and the entire Straw Family were honored to present O'Hara Elementary School 5th graders Brendan Kelly & Mikie Rice with the fourth Elijah Straw Helping Hand Award for their exceptional friendship, kindness towards others, overall good citizenship, and most of all, for embodying the core values ("Respect, Responsibility, Integrity") of O'Hara Elementary School. Brendan and Mikie each received a certificate of merit, a Barnes & Noble gift card, a pizza party for their classroom, and most importantly, a chance to donate an amount equal to their gift cards to local charities of their choice.

From the nomination letter written by Special Ed Instructional Assistant Susan Young:

"Every morning Brendan Kelly and Mikie Rice start their school day with a visit to Room 212. They drop their backpacks and greet each of our students with a smile and a high five.  All of the children in our classroom have special needs.  Three are nonverbal and several are working on their daily struggle to learn appropriate behavior and develop meaningful relationships with others. Our classroom could intimidate some adults, but it doesnít seem to bother Brendan and Mikie.

Our students have benefitted tremendously from their daily visits. The opportunity to interact socially with older students who demonstrate positive behavior (especially when problems arise) is invaluable.  As with all volunteer endeavors, Brendan and Mikie have learned a lot, too. They have learned to wait patiently for the answer to a question from a child whose voice comes from an ipad.  They have learned to be patient when working a puzzle with a child can mean picking up the pieces off the floor again and again.  They have learned to give children time to do things for themselves because independence is a wonderful thing.

They know who likes Pop Tarts and who watches the Penguins. They know who loves to play 3-D Safari and who is having success with toilet training. They know who loves to play dress-up, and they accommodate her desire by donning the police officer and letter carrier costumes to join in the fun. They know the joy of reaching out to others who need our love, support and acceptance.

If you define good citizenship as looking after and caring for the place where you live, Brendan and Mikie demonstrate everyday their desire to care for the needs and happiness of others, and they are definitely at home in our classroom."

Perhaps most impressively, Mikie and Brendan began assisting Room 212 entirely by their own initiative. No authority figure or other adult initiated their first visit, nor has anyone required or compelled them to continue visiting and assisting throughout the entire school year, as they have done. Principal Rowe often says that "Respect, Responsibility, Integrity" mean doing the right thing even when no one is looking, and when you do not expect reward. Mikie and Brendan fit that definition to a "T". And while the Straw family is happy to give them this small award, we know, especially after meeting them, that these two fine young men realize that kindness and compassion are their own very rich rewards.

Great job, guys!

More Photos of Mikie and Brendan

Please click on any image to see a larger version in a new window.

Brendan (l) and Mikie (r) "in costume" for the kids in Room 212
Brendan (l) and Mikie (r) "in costume" for
the kids in Room 212
  Brendan with proud parents Tom and Patricia, and Mikie with proud mom Sheri
Brendan with proud parents Tom and Patricia,
& Mikie with proud mom Sheri
   
Brendan with proud parents Tom and Patricia, and Mikie with proud mom Sheri and O'Hara Principal Dr. Mike Rowe
Brendan with proud parents Tom and Patricia, and Mikie with proud mom Sheri and O'Hara Principal Dr. Mike Rowe
  Clay Sauereisen
(L to R:) Tom & Jen Straw; Tom, Patricia, & Brendan Kelly;
Mikie & Sheri Rice

Please consider donating to the Elijah Straw Memorial Fund using the link below:

You may also hand-deliver or mail donations to:

Elijah Straw Memorial Fund
PNC Bank
915 Freeport Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

Make checks payable to "Elijah Straw Memorial Fund"

[ top ]


Beautiful Elijah

Beautiful Elijah

About The Fund

About Elijah

Donate

Links

Honorees

About The Fund | About Elijah | Donate | Links | Honorees | Copyright© 2017 The Elijah Straw Memorial Fund