The community may be small but its charitable and selfless mission is now a local phenomenon. Submitted photo
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GLENMONT — In a time where children and teenagers are blindly criticized for being lazy and technology-obsessed, some families in the Quail Hollow neighborhood are confronting that stereotype by spreading a more positive, humanitarian message.
Ten children from five neighborhood families, whose ages range from 5 to 13 years of age, have been giving back to the community by raising money and kickstarting fundraisers for charities and causes.
Activities they have done include a lemonade stand, a bake sale, and a book drive.
Despite the group’s ambitious actions, it curiously does not have an official organization name, at least for now, which in itself truly shows how this is such an intimate community-based movement.
Laurie Tafilowski, a stay-at-home mother of three there, said that she was the one who originally came up with the idea of giving back.
“It all started when I was staying at home and I thought I wanted my children to get out and give back, and not just stay in with their iPads,” she said. “I’m friends with the moms in the neighborhood, and we all started doing fundraisers and working together.”
Unofficially referring to the children and neighbors involved in the initiative as the “Quail Hollow Kids” or “Quail Hollow Crew,” she noted that it “became a bonding experience” and while it was her idea, the children really went ahead with it.
Tafilowski’s own daughter, Julianna, said, “We’ve definitely learned to give back to the community. The whole idea also kind of started because of my fifth grade teacher who first gave me the idea about charity and it’s amazing. She’s retired now but I hope she sees what we’re doing now.”
The first fundraiser was a bake sale, held last October, the proceeds from which would benefit children who were affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas at the time. “We were able to raise $300 alone, and ever since then, we felt like we wanted to do more and even locally,” Laurie said.
Money was also raised and then physically brought down to the South End Children’s Cafe in Albany, a cafe that offers free and healthy meals, help with school assignments, and engaging activities for children there.
An additional fundraiser was the aforementioned lemonade stand where the children also made homemade dog treats.
The idea stemmed from Tafilowski’s daughter’s teacher, Ms. Jozwiak, who also owns Upstate Underdog Rescue, which fosters dogs and tries to find loving homes for them.
Proceeds from that fundraiser directly went to Upstate Underdog Rescue.
The children also recently hosted a book drive, which were then charitably given to Grassroots Givers, a nonprofit organization serving disadvantaged communities on New Scotland Avenue.
It actively accepts donations of clothing, housewares, linens, household appliances, electronics and books.
“Our kids are so blessed and lucky, but they sometimes don’t realize what it’s like to be grounded and give back,” Laurie said. “I want them to learn and know that they can still have a great impact on our neighborhood, society and the bigger world.”
She comically recounted how even her own five-year-old son technically was not supposed to join the Quail Hollow Crew because of being too young, but he joined anyways, which made her feel both proud and impressed.
Despite occurring in a modest neighborhood, Laurie said she appreciates living in such a kind community and that she did not expect the sheer amount of positive responses she and Quail Hollow as a whole have received so far.
For example, the Quail Hollow Crew’s humanitarian efforts have already been reported by WNYT NewsChannel 13 and praised by the Bethlehem Central School District.
Looking onward, Laurie noted that numerous mothers have reached out to her who feel inspired to join or do something similar.
She hopes to expand the movement by crossing over to multiple neighborhoods, raising more money, and has ideas to continue connecting with local charities.
Quail Hollow Crew’s last event for the summer was a bottle drive held on Sunday, Aug. 19.
The proceeds would go to the Donna M. Crandall Foundation, which helps families whose members are struggling with cystic fibrosis.
The genetic disorder targets the lungs, intestine, kidneys, pancreas and liver, with symptoms including sinus infections and breathing issues.
This cause hits close to home for Laurie as her son has a classmate whose father is afflicted with cystic fibrosis.
“I think this can become a lifelong thing for the kids, and we’re even starting to talk about what to do next year,” Laurie concluded.